Providence Cuts Nighttime Sexual Assault Exams

The Providence health system has stopped conducting nighttime sexual assault exams in Anchorage, citing a shortage of specially trained nurses.

The Anchorage Daily News says the change that began Oct. 1 has sparked concerns.

Prosecutors and advocates say delays can mean lost evidence. It also could mean more trauma for victims who may be told not to shower, change clothes or eat or drink.

Jennifer Meyer with Forensic Nursing Services of Providence says nurses are being recruited, with two new hires starting next month.

Meyer says Providence hopes the problem will be resolved by Feb. 1, if not sooner.

Anchorage, like other Alaska communities, has committed to a sexual assault response team that involves an advocate, law-enforcement and a nurse.

Providence has provided the nurse exams since 2008.

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