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UGHS Sexual Assault Center Now Open

July 9, 2021
The Union General Health System Sexual Assault Center is now open and available as needed for forensic medical exams. This center will service Union and Towns counties as well as the surrounding local communities as needed. The center is available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year to patients in need.
Specially trained Sexual Assault Nurse Examiners (SANE) will be available to assist patients. Sexual Assault Nurse Examiners are registered nurses who have completed intensive, specialized education, and clinical preparation in the medical forensic care of a patient who has experienced sexual abuse. SANE services include examinations, trauma response, sexually transmitted infection testing and treatment, forensic medical care, and referral to further support services vital for evidence collection to identify and hold offenders accountable with law enforcement. Most important, however, is the survivor’s treatment and recovery.
“Union General Health System is very proud to offer this center for our local communities. Timing is crucial during sexual assault incidents and it’s a tremendous asset to have this specialized care available locally,” stated Union General Health System Chief Nursing Officer Julia Barnett.
In addition, Union General Health System hosted a meeting of the local Sexual Assault Response Team (SART). The Sexual Assault Response Team is a community-based team that coordinates the response to victims of sexual assault. Participants in the recent SART meeting included, Union General Health System SANE Center nurses, SAFE, Hiawassee Police Department, Towns County Sheriff’s Office, Synergy Health and Dr. Samuel Church, Union County Sheriff’s Office, Young Harris College Police Department, District Attorney – Jeff Langley, and personnel from the Criminal Justice Coordinating Council.
During the SART meeting, the Criminal Justice Coordinating Council provided education with POST education hours focused on the following objectives:
• Understand the problem of sexual violence
• Understand the SART concept
• Learn about the Georgia SART Project
• Learn about the Georgia Sexual Assault Kit Initiative and SAFE-ITR
• Discuss FAQs in SART Development
In the U.S. about 1 in 3 women and nearly 1 in 6 men experienced some form of contact sexual violence during their lifetime. Nearly 23 million women and 1.7 men have been the victims of completed or attempted rape at some point in their life according to the CDC’s National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey Report.
Significant short and long-term impacts on individuals such as Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder are common from sexual violence according to the National Sexual Violence Resource Center.
To learn more about Union General Health System and their continuous community efforts, please visit

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