The Southeast Missouri Network Against Sexual Violence (SEMO-NASV) was formed in 1997 to serve as a first-response agency to provide timely, compassionate, coordinated care for child and adult victims of sexual violence. Because sexual violence has long-term and far-reaching effects on adults and children as well as their families, SEMO-NASV offers advocacy, counseling and forensic care for all victims of sexual violence in southeast Missouri.
The formation of SEMO-NASV resulted from several meetings involving a wide cross-section of representatives from human services, medical, law enforcement and legal communities. The meetings sought to address unmet needs of child and adult victims of sexual violence. At that time, there was no child advocacy or rape crisis center within an 11-county region of southeast Missouri. There was little education about sexual abuse/assault. Professionals lacked knowledge on how to deal with child and adult victims of sexual violence. Recognizing the need for a single point of entry for victims of sexual violence, these professionals organized SEMO-NASV and set up a board of directors comprised of community volunteers. The agency now services 9 southeast Missouri counties: Bollinger, Cape Girardeau, Dunklin, Mississippi, New Madrid, Perry, Pemiscot, Scott, and Stoddard. Assistance is provided to other counties as requested. The agency’s office is currently located in Cape Girardeau. From 1998 through 2000, volunteer nurse practitioners provided Sexual Assault Forensic Exams (SAFE) to child sexual abuse victims. Area hospitals, businesses and individuals donated office space, utilities and furnishings. During the first year of operation, SAFE exams were provided to 46 children. By mid-2000, the number had risen to 140 children. With the caseload larger than volunteers could manage, the board moved to hire a director and approached the St. Francis Medical Center Foundation in Cape Girardeau for financial assistance. With a full-time director and financial support of donations and grants, SEMO-NASV focused on program development, coordination of services, client advocacy, resource development, training for community professionals and prevention education. SEMO-NASV receives referrals from human services, medical, law enforcement and legal entities.
Specially trained agency staff interview child and adult abuse victims in a safe, private and secure setting, using a non-leading, legally defensible model.
All children and adults who are victims of sexual violence are assigned an advocate to help them understand their rights as related to the criminal justice system. The advocate also provides case management services to assist victims and their families with other needs such as work or school-related issues.
Child Abuse Resource Education
Certified medical examiners care for children who have been physically abused.
Sexual Assault Forensic Exam
Specially trained nurses provide care to children and adults who have been sexually abused or raped.
Education and Prevention
Through the Green Bear Program, sexual abuse prevention programs are provided in schools, churches and other youth organizations for children in pre-kindergarten through twelfth grades. The Green Bear Program also provides parents, grandparents, caretakers and professionals with training to recognize and report child abuse. Classes are offered to schools, law enforcement, churches and civic organizations to address Missouri Mandated Reporter laws.
(877) 820-6278 Available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Today, the agency employs 13 people, including advocates, nurse practitioners, therapists, interviewers, and administrators. A dedicated set of volunteers assists with office, child care and administrative duties. As of its 20th anniversary, SEMO-NASV had provided forensic exams and forensic interviews to more than 9,500 individuals.