Announcement: Eloise House expands, offers space for more sexual assault forensic exams

Written by SAFE

The outside of a slate-colored building with windows a light-yellow door.Eloise House, SAFE’s facility for free sexual assault forensic exams, has expanded to address the growing need for exams in the Austin area.

Since Eloise House opened in 2015, our Forensic Nursing and Advocacy team has responded to more than 2,000 visits from sexual assault survivors in Central Texas. The expansion adds second waiting room, a shower, and two comfortable exam rooms, allowing advocates and nurses to see more survivors simultaneously.

As SAFE Forensic Nursing Director Jenny Black explains, only about 9 percent of sexual assault survivors in Texas report their assault to police, and only about 3.5 percent of survivors ever see a sexual assault nurse.

“I hope that continued outreach to underserved communities and health care providers will bring those numbers up,” Black said. “We’ll have more space to care for people with the beautiful new clinic building. I want to encourage those who have experienced a recent sexual assault to come in for free medical care, evidence collection, or a conversation about options.”

In the facility’s first full year, Eloise House staff served 593 survivors. In 2017, that number climbed to 630 and we’re on track to receive even more visits this year. With the overwhelming number of visits, the need to expand was immediately clear. Thanks to the generosity of our community and the support of local philanthropic organizations, we opened the Eloise House expansion last month.

Grants from the St. David’s Foundation, JP’s Peace, Love, & Happiness Foundation, Chaparral Foundation, and Carolyn Rice Bartlett Charitable Foundation helped make this possible.

About Eloise House

On Aug. 27, 2015, Eloise House officially opened and became the region’s first 24/7 facility solely dedicated to administering free sexual assault forensic exams to sexual assault survivors. Located on SAFE’s Grove Boulevard campus, this permanent facility is a milestone in the community’s efforts to serve survivors and address the epidemic of sexual assault in Central Texas.

Private exams are available to survivors and are performed by specially-qualified nurses who can provide both medical care and evidence collection. Additionally, UT Austin and SAFE have partnered to provide free sexual assault forensic exams on campus. UT students can receive a post-sexual assault exam in the Urgent Care extension building of the UHS. For more information, click here.

Eloise House provides medical care, evidence collection, and connection to other helpful services at SAFE and in the community.