Greensboro's Cone Health To Expand Domestic Violence Program

Oct 24, 2013

Exterior of Moses Cone Hospital in Greensboro
Credit Cone Health

Cone Health in Greensboro will add more specially-trained nurses to a program that can  assist in getting domestic violence convictions. 

The system's forensic nursing program provides training in getting visual proof and logging other evidence that can be used in court cases.  

Program coordinator Catherine Rossi runs the forensic nursing program.  She says techniques nurses learn are similar to those crime scene investigators and medical examiners use to analyze injuries.

"You need to be able to document that correctly and you need to be able to go to court and testify about the fact that even though there's only a small bruise there, that's a substantial injury based on force and how it acts on the body and how it manifests and appears and that helps the prosecutors then to be able to turn that around and make a successful conviction," Rossi says.

As for the evidence nurses collect, Rossi says it can be kept confidentially for as long as victims believe their safety, or even their lives, may be in jeopardy.

"Here are the medical records where a nurse who has been expertly trained to look at these injuries, to photograph these injuries, to document and to explain them to lay individuals on a jury that this is what it means..this is why it's significant," Rossi explains.

"Then you can get that prosecution or perhaps even a restraining order that may then save an individual's life later down the road."

Rossi says the program is going from two to five nurses that will be sent to Triad hospitals as they are needed.  She says Greensboro Police responses to nearly 14,000 potential domestic violence cases last year shows there is a need for expansion.