Forensic Nurse Program

Treatment & Protection for Victims in Hagerstown & Surrounding Areas

If you or someone you know has been a victim of abuse, find a safe place and get help. If it is an emergent situation, call 911. If you are in a safe place, you can report to the closest police station and to the emergency department for medical and/or forensic care.

The Meritus Medical Center emergency department (301-790-8300) is available to help you. You can receive prompt medical care and a forensic exam with evidence collection if warranted. The forensic exam and evidence collection should be completed as soon as possible.

At Meritus Medical Center, we want you to feel safe and comfortable. The Federal Violence Against Women Act allows Meritus Medical Center's forensic nurse examiners to provide their services free of charge even when the police are not involved.

Types of Violence

  • Physical – Any act causing physical harm, including bruises, contusions, fractures, pushing, shoving, grabbing and strangulation.
  • Sexual – Any form of sexual activity performed on a person without consent, such as fondling, removal of clothing, genital contact and other sexual acts.
  • Emotional/Psychological – Any interaction that can decrease the victim's self-esteem and create psychological injury, including social isolation, controlling finances, cursing, destruction of personal property and threatening behavior.
  • Domestic Violence and Abuse – Behaviors that attempt to control a person by using physical, psychological, emotional, verbal, sexual and economic abuse.
  • Human Trafficking- Sex trafficking is a form of modern slavery in which someone coerces or deceives another person into commercial sex exploitation for profit. Any child sold for sex is considered a victim of sex trafficking by nature of their age. Simply, it is sexual violence as a business.

Funded in part by the Governor’s Office for Crime Control and Prevention and Carefirst.

Forensic Nurse Team at Meritus Health

The forensic team at Meritus Medical Center is here to serve a variety of patient populations who are victims of a crime. Forensic nursing is a sub-specialty of nursing. Forensic nurses are specially trained to provide care for patients who have been victims of interpersonal violence, sexual assault, child abuse, elder abuse and other crimes. Forensic nurses collect evidence; provide injury identification and documentation; obtain photographs and testify in court if needed.

The Interpersonal Violence and Abuse Program services include the following:

  • Forensic examinations
  • Onsite medical treatment
  • Emergency Contraception
  • Screenings and treatment for sexually transmitted infections (STIs)
  • Domestic violence screenings and assessments
  • Resources for assistance in finding a safe place for shelter
  • Elder abuse and elder neglect screenings and forensic exams
  • Child abuse and neglect screenings and forensic exams

Sex trafficking victim evaluations, medical care and forensic exams. Our forensic nurse examiners also collaborate with community agencies, including law enforcement, Citizens Assisting and Sheltering the Abused (CASA), Child Protective Services and the Child Advocacy Center.

Reporting Sexual Assault

After a sexual assault, many people have mixed emotions and do not feel comfortable talking to the police. You do not have to make that decision right away.You have options if you do not fall under mandated reporting guidelines, which you can access at this link. In Maryland you can have evidence collected anonymously and stored for up to 20 years before making a decision to report.

Important Contacts:

  • Emergency Services: 911
  • Meritus Medical Center Emergency Department: 301-790-8300
  • Meritus Medical Center Forensic Nurse Examiner (non-urgent): 301-790-8832
  • Citizens Assisting and Sheltering the Abused (CASA) Crisis Hotline: 301-739-4990
  • Washington County Child Advocacy Center/Safe Place 240-420-4308
  • 24-Hour Emergency Hotline (Washington County Department of Social Services) 240-420-2222
  • Protective Services (Child, Adult, Elder) 240-420-2222
  • Maryland Coalition Against Sexual Assault (MCASA) 301-328-7023
  • MCASA Sexual Assault Legal Institute (SALI) 877-496-7254
  • National Domestic Violence Hotline 800-799-7233
  • Human Trafficking Hotline 888-373-7888
Forensic Nurse Program