Victims, law enforcement, local hospitals, and Health Centers can call upon Project HELP, Inc. to utilize our Sexual Assault Response Team (SART).
Once our SART is notified, we begin either working with the victim individually or acting as advocates while they work with law enforcement. Our program allows victims the dignity of a safe, confidential and private room at our in-house facility where they have their rape evidence kits performed and questioning done. A SART member is always present to offer support.
Project HELP, Inc also offers counseling and support groups to assist survivors after the initial trauma. Our counseling services also extend to family members and friends also affected by the crime.
Project HELP Sexual Assault Program has been providing sexual assault services to the Collier County Community since 1986.
Project HELP is Collier County’s only Certified Rape Crisis Center. Project HELP has been working with victims of Sexual Assault since its inception in 1986. Project HELP was one of the first Rape Crisis Centers certified in the State of Florida. State Certification requires maintaining strict protocols and standards which are continually monitored and are audited for re-certification every 2 years.
- Project HELP offers an in house forensic facility to assure a private and safe facility for a victim to maintain a confidential and independent facility to go for collection of evidence.
- Project HELP is also the certified center for aiding victims in applying for Sexual Violence Relocation funds which assists victims of sexual assault who cannot return to their residence for various reasons.
- Project HELP is also a certified center for the Address Confidentiality Program. We provide this service not only to victims of sexual assault but to victims of stalking and violent crimes.
This portion of our program is made up of many individuals who are all coordinated by Project HELP. The response team consists of employees and trained volunteer advocates who go into action as soon as they are notified of a Sexual Assault. Notification may be made in several different ways such as through our hotline, law enforcement, emergency room/hospital personnel, victims/survivors, friends and so on. The team goes into action to immediately respond to those victims who have been sexually assaulted. The response team is made up of a Sexual Assault Response Advocate (SARA), Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner (SANE) and Law Enforcement Office (LEO) on the response however, it includes many more people who are in the background.
- Our Sexual Assault Response Advocates collaborate and initiate the response team. The SARA works with the victim from victimization through prosecution. The SARA meets the team and the victim either at the Project HELP Forensic Facility or at the hospital (if injury has occurred and medical treatment is needed). The SARA works to represent the rights of the victim and inform the victim of the importance of the forensic exam and the LEO process. The SARA is a vital part of a victim’s healing journey and it starts with the response.
- The Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner (SANE) is trained by the state to collect evidence using protocols established by the Statewide SART and Florida Department Law Enforcement (FDLE).
- Others who play a vital role in the team are the Program Director/ Executive Director and Program Coordinator, as well as the Medical Director. The Medical Director is a local on call doctor who supervises the SANE’s as well as the forensic room protocols.
- The program offers these free and confidential services to those who have been affected by sexual violence. We provide crisis intervention, counseling, and advocacy for the victim and those significant people in their lives that have been affected as secondary victims as well.
- Project HELP advocates/counselors receive specialized training and protocols when working with victims of sexual violence. We utilize the Solution Focused model to identify solutions and strengths to help clients see beyond the immediate issue. We not only offer counseling to the victim, but to anyone who has ever been victimized by sexual violence. We work diligently with the victims from victimization through prosecution.
- We also provide court accompaniment and assistance in obtaining orders of protection, attend deposits, and trials.
- The length of time for counseling for Sexual Assault Victims typically last 6-8 sessions. When the client is ready we welcome them to our support groups.
- Project HELP support groups are designed to meet others and work together to continue the healing process, learn that they are not alone, and share with others their experiences and healing journey.
- We offer support groups for the different ages and individual stages of healing from sexual violence. Our support groups are based on peer run groups with co-facilitators to be available to assist the group when needed.
- The Sexual Assault Forensic Facility is located within the Project HELP building. It provides a safe and confidential environment for the victim to obtain a forensic exam after they have been sexually victimized. The facility allows the prevention of re-victimization that is often attached to going to a hospital or clinic.
- The Forensic Facility is ultimately run and managed by Project HELP, but is done so with the assistance of a Medical Director who is responsible for overseeing and assisting with protocols as well as supervising the Sexual Assault Nurse Examiners.
- The Sexual Assault Nurse Examiners are State trained to collect forensic evidence needed for the investigation and are processed through the Florida Department of Law Enforcement.