By Craig McMorris, TV5 Anchor/Reporter - bio | email
SAGINAW, MI (WNEM) -
Sexual assault is one of the most traumatizing events a person can go through.
What happens in the minutes, hours and even days after an assault can make all the difference in prosecution of the perpetrator, and recovery of the victim.
The Covenant Healthcare Foundation designed a room to provide comfort and understanding to victims of sexual assault. They raised money to furnish the room.
"We wanted a place for those victims who have been through this experience where they could feel safe, they could feel somewhat secure and it would give them a quiet respite from what they've been through," said Carol Cottrell, member of the Covenant Foundation.
There's a drawing room with a couch where police officers can interview victims and they can receive counseling from child and family services. There's also a room to collect forensic evidence.
A new machine they got could be vital in gathering evidence to prosecute sexual assault suspects. It can capture video and photographic documentation of tears, bruises and abrasions not visible to the human eye.
"I was just told it cost $20,000. It's going to be a very good tool that we can use, the evidence it produces," said John McColgan, Saginaw County prosecutor.
There's also a shower area for victims to clean up in private. Victims are not billed, and they can receive help from child and family services.
"What we're able to do as well is provide follow-up counseling all free of charge and support them through the court process if that's where the case leads," said Margie Bach, with Child and Family Services.
The people who established the room said it's unique to Mid-Michigan, providing a quiet area for sexual assault victims away from the noise of the emergency room area.
The Can Council of Saginaw will also utilize the space to treat and council abused children while its headquarters undergoes renovations.
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