Mayor unveils pilot program to help rape victims at Bronx hospitals

Mayor Bloomberg announced Wednesday a new pilot program to help rape victims in the Bronx.

The new Sexual Assault Response Team (S.A.R.T) is made up of forensic examiners who will be on-call 24 hours a day, seven days a week at three Bronx public hospitals. The hospitals include North Central Bronx, Jacobi Medical Center and Lincoln Medical Center.

In addition to having forensic examiners, the team will have rape counselors from the community and rape crisis advocates.

The goal of the program is to get an examiner to victims of sexual assault within one hour of their arrival at the hospital. Experts say that window is the best chance to document the signs of an attack. Mayor Bloomberg says it's important to get evidence that is useful for the district attorney so that the rapist can be taken off the streets.

The Bronx was chosen as the first borough to get the pilot program because it has the highest number of rapes.

The program will officially launch in April. If it's successful, it will serve as a model for the rest of the city.

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