New support center for sexual assault victims at Tucson Medical Center

Posted: Updated:

TUCSON, Ariz. -- Tucson Medical Center has teamed up with the Southern Arizona Center Against Sexual Assault to create a unique and ideal area of their emergency room dedicated to survivors of sexual assault.

Typically a victim of sexual assault would be treated in the same area as any other patient at TMC's emergency room.  There was no dedicated space or area for a rape victim.

"They walked in the front door they had to face patients that were sitting in the lobby, it just was not that private space and for me its what i call parading them through our system," said R.N. Melissa Moren.

A unique partnership between SACASA and TMC has changed that.

"We are just thrilled with this collaboration between Tucson Medical Center and the center against sexual assault," said Montserrat Caballero from SACASA.

The collaboration includes an area with two rooms for victims.  A quiet room for family, a counselor, and an examination room.  That includes a specialized bed and camera.

"There's a specialized equipment that we have called a colposcope and it is a very high resolution camera if you will that can video bruising and any other kinds of marks," said Moren.

Those images and other sterile equipment could be key for the prosecution in a sexual assault case.

"The ability to immediately get a victim in and obtain a quality evidence forensic evidence for the purpose of trial is obviously going to make our case more successful," said Susan Eazer from the Pima County Attorney's Office.

The collaboration of TMC and SACASA has transformed the way victims are treated.

Most of the equipment in the rooms were donated by TMC.