EDINBURG – Hidalgo County Criminal District Attorney Ricardo Rodriguez, Jr. wants victims of sexual assault to know help is available to them. In light of the recent closure of the SAFE Program at Mission Regional Hospital, the District Attorney’s office is working with McAllen Medical Center, Valley Baptist Medical Center, the Family Crisis Center in Harlingen, and Mujeres Unidas to provide support for victims of sexual assault.
“It’s imperative that the community knows there are resources available to them, including other hospitals that can care for them while obtaining vital evidence that will help ensure that their attackers are prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law,” Rodriguez said.
Sexual Assault Nurse Examiners or SANE are available at McAllen Medical Center or Valley Baptist Medical Center in Harlingen. McAllen Medical has three Sexual Assault Nurse Examiners on-call and Valley Baptist Medical Center has five of the specialty-trained nurses on staff. At the request of the victim, these nurses can contact the local rape crisis center to have a sexual assault advocate accompany the victim during the examination and to provide the victim with information and referrals for other services available to them.
Victims have the option of contacting two rape crisis centers: the Family Crisis Center in Harlingen and Mujeres Unidas in McAllen. The Mujeres Unidas Rape Crisis Center offers free and confidential services to victims of sexual assault and domestic violence. The center provides a Sexual Assault Advocate to accompany the victim to the hospital. It also offers emergency shelter services for victims in fear of their safety. The center’s 24 hour hotline is 800-580-4879. The Family Crisis Center, in Harlingen, is a domestic violence and rape crisis center that provides services to victims and their families. The center offers a 24 hour hotline at 866-423-9304. Among the services provided are a 24 hour emergency shelter, crisis intervention, hospital accompaniment and advocacy.
“Our Crime Victims Unit has been working with our community partners to ensure that critical services are not disrupted,” said Rodriguez. “So that all victims receive the proper medical care and support they need during this difficult and emotional time.”
If you or someone you know is in danger, contact your local law enforcement agency or call 911 in an emergency. Victims of sexual assault should go to either McAllen Medical Center or Valley Baptist Medical Center. The Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner will contact the nearest Rape Crisis Center on behalf of victims.