A rally and candlelight vigil recognizing survivors of sexual assault and abuse was held April 10 as part of Dimensions Healthcare System’s annual drive at Prince George’s Hospital to “Take Back the Night” from sexual predators.

The event is held in observance of President Obama’s designation in 2010 of April as National Sexual Assault Awareness Month.

Prince George’s County Assistant State’s Attorney Renee Battle-Brooks and John A. O’Brien, president of the Prince George’s Hospital, urged a crowd gathered at the hospital in Cheverly to be aware that victims of sexual crimes are supported by both prosecutors and health care providers.

They noted that the hospital’s Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Center (DV/SAC) is open around the clock to provide crisis intervention, crisis and follow-up counseling, safety planning, danger assessment, referral services, and victim advocacy for sex crime victims.

Since it was launched in 1975, the center has been offering health care and emotional support to sexual assault victims and their families, county officials noted.

In addition to treating rape and other sex crime victims at the hospital in Cheverly, the DV/SAC is available by phone and online to aid adult and child victims of domestic violence, sexual assault and abuse and incest. Information and referrals are available by calling 301-618-3154.

Comprehensive forensic exams are offered to victims when needed and are performed by the center’s certified sex assault examiners to collect evidence to be used in criminal prosecution of sex crime suspects.

In addition, the center enlists advocates to help victims navigate the law enforcement process, as well as provide escorts for the victims throughout the prosecution process.