Living our Mission through Providence Intervention Center for Assault and Abuse
At Providence Intervention Center for Assault and Abuse (PICAA), caregivers provide medical, advocacy and mental health services for some of our most vulnerable patients in Snohomish County.
The Providence Intervention Center is part of the Dawson Place Child Advocacy Center in Everett, which houses Compass Health counseling services, the Snohomish County Sheriff’s Special Assault Unit, Snohomish County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office and the Department of Social and Health Services – Children’s Administration. The Providence Intervention Center works with these organizations to provide the best possible services to victims of sexual and physical abuse and their families.
Providence has been supporting and advocating for victims of physical and sexual assault since 1980, when volunteers began managing a crisis hotline. Today, the Providence Intervention Center is staffed by nearly 30 advocates, forensic nurses, volunteers and mental health professionals. These dedicated caregivers provide services, advocacy and guidance to patients from all over Snohomish County. “Individuals that come into this line of work are very passionate and committed to working on behalf of victims and ensuring that their voice is heard,” says Melissa Mertz, Manager of the Intervention Center, “the priority of every caregiver is to make sure that victims get the resources that they need.”
PICAA Nurse Examiners and Advocates respond to emergency departments at PRMCE, Swedish Mill Creek, Swedish Edmonds and Evergreen Health Monroe when the ED’s have victims of sexual or physical assault. Nurses and advocates respond to these calls as a team 24 hours a day 7 days a week, addressing both medical and emotional needs of the patient. The nurse will also collect evidence, if the victim requests it, and the advocate will help the victim get their exam covered through Crime Victim Compensation as well as create a safety plan if needed.
Patients are referred to the Intervention Center by the 24-hour crisis hotline, local law enforcement, Child Protective Services, medical professionals and community partners. Once initial contact is made, the patient is partnered with an advocate who helps set medical appointments, assess patient needs, access medical services as well as providing emotional support and a listening ear. “We really try to focus on client empowerment – we want decisions regarding treatment and pressing charges against their abusers to be that of the client,” says Melissa, “we provide information for them and once they make a decision we support that decision.”
In support of the ongoing fight against physical and sexual assault, caregivers from the Intervention Center maintain relationships with law enforcement, schools and leadership across Snohomish County to ensure community awareness. The Intervention Center continues to grow as more men and women from the community volunteer their time to make a difference for victims.
The Providence Intervention Center for Assault and Abuse embodies the Providence Mission through their compassionate service, commitment to our community and the care they provide to some of our most vulnerable patients.