A blanket, leggings, and a T-shirt. That’s what victims of rape and sexual assault will find when they open code teal rape kits.
“Toiletries, a quilt, things like that. Things to make the victim feel comfortable” said Jocelyn C, who works at the Center For Abuse and Rape Emergencies.
The center started giving code teal kits out to local hospitals in Charlotte County.
“We wanted to brainstorm and try to help the clinical staff by placing everything in one box, which is the purpose of the code teal kit” Jocelyn said.
“If they need saline, it’s already in there. If they need additional swabs, they’re already in there. If they need certain paperwork, it’s in the binder that’s already in there.”
In 2017 there were 33 reported cases of sexual assault and rape in Charlotte County.
A lot of crimes of that nature go unreported. These kits are an avenue to help victims come forward.
“They’re going to submit to the exam, but they’re not sure if they want to press charges, so they have 30 days to decide. They collect the evidence, the rape kit will be completed, and then held for that amount of time, to give them the opportunity to decide if they want to file for more charges or not” said Jocelyn.
It’s not just the Center For Abuse and Rape Emergencies that’s benefiting from these kits. Bayfront Health Port Charlotte and Punta Gorda’s Emergency Rooms have assisted in the assembling the kits, both facilities releasing this joint statement:
“The Code Teal Kits prepared by the Sexual Assault Response Team (S.A.R.T.) will be beneficial to have on hand in our emergency rooms. They will have all the tools our emergency staff will need, not only to test for sexual assault, but also to assist in diminishing the degree of trauma that the victim may have experienced. Items such as hand-made blankets, new clothing and toiletry items will aide in providing some comfort during such a difficult time.”
Jocelyn says making the process easier helps the victim.
“When we do that, we know that it has a direct impact on the viability of the evidence being processed, which would then help the state’s attorney’s office when charges are pressed against the perpetrator,” she said.