By Phil Demers, Berkshire Eagle staff
PITTSFIELD — Drugs, poverty and homelessness all contribute to a higher incidence of domestic abuse and sexual assault in Berkshire County, per capita, than in much of the rest of Massachusetts, according to Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito.
To help turn that around, Berkshire Medical Center soon will become part of the Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner program, a new initiative launched by the administration of Gov. Charlie Baker.
“Victims can go to this hospital and get the right response that he or she needs,” Polito said Thursday during a visit to the Elizabeth Freeman Center, which provides services to victims of domestic violence. “These examiners then document the medical evidence needed so when the batterer or abuser is prosecuted, the [district attorney] and his team have the evidence and a witness to come forward.”
She added, “It’s a tool that many people in this county can use to break that cycle of violence.”