Crime victims are among the few people who will personally see the new mural on the walls or the special equipment at the Gila Family Advocacy Center.
"All the other advocacy centers had beautiful murals in their medical examination rooms," said program director/ forensic interviewer Christy Walton.
When the center was in the planning stages, Walton thought to cover the wall of the exam room with a wallpaper rain forest.
Our consultant said that was too dark, so we decided on an ocean with a blue sky. Receptionist Rebecca Warren suggested that we find a muralist, Walton said.
Local artist Elizabeth Silver donated the mural.
Less victim stress
Victims of rape or abuse often find it difficult to report the crime to authorities, let alone be examined by medical professionals, no matter how gentle, to document injuries.
"We wanted a soothing setting and Liz's painting is heartfelt," Walton said.
The center takes delivery of a new examination table Friday. It is a deluxe model that lowers to 16 inches and rises to 36 inches to accommodate people of all ages and levels of health.
"Amberly's Place, the advocacy center in Yuma, donated a $30,000 piece of equipment -- a colposcope for use in non-invasive women's pelvic exams.
The Gila center needs a locally based forensic medical examiner or sexual assault nurse examiner who is available on an on-call basis.
"We hope to work as closely with the medical community as we are with law enforcement and social services, so we can continue to wrap the best possible treatment around victims," Walton said.
Since the center's April 27 opening, Walton has conducted 14 forensic interviews -- about one per week.
"That is a good number for an emerging center," she said.
Referrals have come from Globe and Casa Grande.
"The main thing is, we are making it convenient for people in the area surrounding the center."