International Association of Forensic Nurses Patron's Award to Rob & Debbie Smith
The mission of H-E-A-R-T (Hope Exists After Rape Trauma) is to provide HOPE for victims of sexual assault through the provision of essential and therapeutic support, by affecting positive change in laws influencing their lives, and by educating both the public and professionals commissioned to serve victims. A vital issue in this matter involves the use of DNA. To enhance that use,
H-E-A-R-T will promote the continued use of DNA, and through educating
legislators, law enforcement officials, and others, promote its expanded use and continued improvement.
H-E-A-R-T promotes victim empowerment and encourages the public to have a greater understanding of and respect for sexual assault victims.
Debbie Smith Act
On March 3, 1989, Debbie Smith was kidnapped from her home while her husband, a police officer, was sleeping upstairs. She was dragged into the woods behind her Williamsburg, Virginia home and raped. The rapist threatened Debbie not to tell, and reminded her that he knew where she lived. Bravely, Debbie went forward and told her husband Robert of the assault. The rape was officially reported and she consented to a forensic exam. Read More