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On Tuesday, Penn State’s College of Nursing celebrated the open house for a new project that will utilize technology to help increase access to sexual assault forensic exams in underserved and rural areas in Pennsylvania.

The Pennsylvania Sexual Assault Forensic Examination and Telehealth (SAFE-T) Center is funded by a $1.1 million grant from the U.S. Department of Justice.

The project will be “transformative” for sexual assault victims in Pennsylvania, said Kristina Rose, U.S. Department of Justice Office for Victims of Crime deputy director.

Its mission is “to create a sustainable solution to enhance access to high-quality forensic sexual assault care in underserved areas,” said Sheridan Miyamoto, assistant professor of nursing and principal investigator.

The goal for the project is three-fold: to make patients feel like they’re in good hands and empowered to make decisions that are right for them; to increase the confidence and skills of clinicians and retain Sexual Assault Nurse Examiners; and to provide a better quality of evidence in the criminal justice system that leads to successful investigations, prosecutions and convictions, Rose said.

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