The Norfolk Family Justice Center (NFJC) held its grand opening in November 2019 with the goal of providing more comprehensive services to victims of violence, all in one location. The clinic at the NFJC is a safe space that offers medical forensic exams performed by a team of caring sexual assault nurse examiners (SANEs). These dedicated nurses are on-call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and have specialized training in evidence collection and preservation, as well as working with clients who have experienced trauma. As the only provider of adult forensic exams in the region, Chesapeake Forensic Specialists has completed more than 100 exams since November 2019, and nearly 20% of these exams have been completed at the NFJC.
The Norfolk Family Justice Center offers a variety of services and resources to victims of violence, particularly survivors of sexual assault. As a component of the forensic exam, patients have access to medications to prevent pregnancy and contraction of STDs. There is no cost to the client for the forensic exam or medications. Additionally, the SANE nurse can connect the client with a YWCA advocate who can provide comfort to them during the exam and also assist with counseling and shelter needs.
A thorough forensic exam can take a few hours, and with the current COVID-19 pandemic we highly encourage clients to be seen at the Norfolk Family Justice Center. We have also been collaborating with local hospitals to have patients that do not need additional medical care efficiently screened and arrangements made to complete the exam at the NFJC, thus reducing the amount of time and exposure to the client.
If you or someone you know has questions about a forensic exam or exam options (yes, you can have an exam without police involvement), please contact Chesapeake Forensic Specialists at (757) 398-5105 or call the YWCA hotline at (757) 251-0144.
This blog post was written by Jennifer Knowlton. Jennifer is a registered nurse with more than 25 years of experience and has been involved in forensic nursing for the past 10 years. She is dedicated to helping victims of violence, specifically sexual violence. Jennifer is the director of Chesapeake Forensic Specialists, a specialty practice of sexual assault nurse examiners that provides medical-forensic exams throughout the Hampton Roads area. She is a founding partner with the Norfolk Family Justice Center and has fostered many community relationships, including the YWCA, to advocate for victims of violence.