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December 09, 2015

Philadelphia launches new medical suite for child sex abuse victims

Multidisciplinary site will provide instant care and enable medical staff to aid in prosecution of child sexual abuse cases

The city of Philadelphia has announced the opening of a unique new medical suite designed specifically as a resource to help victims of child sexual abuse and their families recover from physical and emotional trauma.

The suite, housed at the site of the Philadelphia Police Department's Special Victims Unit (SVU), stems from an unprecedented partnership between the city of Philadelphia, Children's Hospital of Philadelphia and St. Christopher's Hospital for Children, according to a news release from CHOP. It marks the next phase in the growth of the Philadelphia Safety Collaborative, a multidisciplinary service that has conducted approximately 4,500 forensic interviews with victims and non-offending family members since launching in August 2013.

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Representatives from the Department of Human Services (DHS) Sexual Abuse Investigations Unit, the Philadelphia Children's Alliance and the District Attorney's office will also be co-located at the site on 300 E. Hunting Park Avenue.

The multidisciplinary suite will allow team members to combine their efforts in the investigative process for abuse cases while helping victims start to recover from their traumatic experiences.

“Children and families served by the site are experiencing high levels of anguish and stress," said DHS Commissioner Vanessa Garrett Hartley. "The new suite will ensure that they receive the appropriate screening and treatment they need and eliminate the complex navigation of multiple systems."

With the ability to complete on-site medical examinations, doctors can assist cooperating agencies in the prosecution of sexual abuse cases by offering immediate feedback on results and providing courtroom testimony.

“The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia is pleased to provide these vital services in the Philadelphia community,” said Madeline Bell, president and CEO at CHOP. "We are providing children who are victims of sexual abuse with access to pediatric experts and caregivers who can meet their needs at the most critical time."

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