The number of sexual assaults reported in Santa Clara County is up nearly 60% compared to just three years ago. Despite the drastic rise, there is only one location in the entire county where victims can receive a forensic exam by specifically trained nurses.
Sexual assault survivors starting February can come to Stanford Hospital for a special forensic exam and counseling.
Santa Clara County will pay for the specially trained sexual assault forensic nurses and administrative staff needed. That means sexual assault victims in northern Santa Clara County will no longer have to drive nearly an hour to Santa Clara Valley Medical Center in San Jose, which is currently the only hospital in the county offering certified forensic exams.
Tanis Crosby is the executive director of the YWCA Silicon Valley, which operates the Rape Crisis Center. She said the new location is something victims have been fighting for.
"We've seen cases where survivors chose not have an exam because of weight times and cases where they opted not to do it at all because he didn't want to drive," Crosby said. "That's not acceptable and we needed to take action."
Santa Clara County Supervisor Joe Simitian has been working to add services near Palo Alto and hopes to expand them to St. Louise Regional Medical Center in Gilroy as well.
"Frankly, it's not only a hardship on someone who is assaulted, but with the increased numbers of sexual assault, we are seeing many more people are requiring an exam," Simitian said.