Offering care for survivors of assault since May 2021, Victim First Care is the first program of its kind in Eagle County. Operated out of Colorado Mountain Medical’s Avon Urgent Care, this program is available at no cost through a partnership among Vail Health, Colorado Mountain Medical, Bright Future Foundation (BFF), Eagle Valley Behavioral Health, and law enforcement.
“Before Victim First Care, individuals often had to travel to Summit County or Garfield County to receive a forensic nurse exam, which is easily an hour away,” explains Amanda Shelley, Nurse Coordinator for Victim First Care. “Once they arrived, they sometimes had to wait a few hours to see a qualified nurse. The distance and wait time discouraged many victims from seeking the care they needed. Our program is centrally located and has a maximum 45-minute response time.”
Comprised of 14 specially trained nurses who provide care for victims of assault, the program offers full-body exams and evidence collection so that evidence is preserved in case they choose later to work with law enforcement. Advocates from BFF provide emotional support during the exam and post-assault follow-up, such as providing connections to local behavioral health resources. So far, 100 percent of the survivors who completed exams also engaged with BFF for aftercare.
Accessible and Free
Since its launch, Victim First Care has provided significant support that better serves and removes barriers for local victims of sexual assault. This program is made possible through the generosity of benefactors, including the Vail Health Volunteer Corps.
“Our goal is to provide the best comprehensive care for victims of abuse. I want our community to know that these services are available and that the resources we offer are free and close to home,” says Amanda.
Victims of sexual or physical assault can call the 24/7 Victim First Care Hotline at (970) 422-3202 to request an exam or discuss options relating to forensic evidence collection. For advocacy or housing support specific to domestic violence and sexual assault, call Bright Future Foundation at (970) 949-7086. For victims under age 18, contact Child Protective Services at (844) CO-4-KIDS.