Certified Professionals to Help Sexual-Assault Victims in South Dakota
Residents in South Dakota have great medical services, employment opportunities, and college education. All available at each side of the state. We also have medical personnel to handle sexual assault cases. But what about between the east-west borders?
The concentration of residents between Sioux Falls and Rapid City finds 80 percent of the state lacks qualified nurses or other personnel to handle sexual assault. According to Carrie Sanderson director of the state's Center for Prevention of Child Maltreatment, the program is preparing to train additional professionals statewide to provide victims with the help they need.
In 2016, South Dakota enacted a law requiring that health care facilities notify law enforcement about the collection of a rape kit within 24 hours. According to Sanderson, the new program will provide a more uniform system for those trying to help victims.
"Throughout the central part of the state, we have counties that rapes are occurring in that maybe don't have a sexual assault exam kit in the entire county,” she said; “meaning law enforcement or the rural clinic or maybe even the emergency room isn't receiving sexual assault exam kits from the Department of Health."
Like many states, South Dakota's data on sexual assault is incomplete, but nationwide, it's been shown that Native American women and children suffer higher rates of sexual violence than any other group.