LOUDONVILLE, N.Y. (NEWS10) — Students from Siena College teamed up with St. Peter’s Health Partners and the New York State Police to pack 500 care packages to help sexual assault survivors. The kits will go to patients in local hospitals run by SPHP.

“These kits are huge. Patients that come into our facilities have just experienced a trauma,” said Tina Bates, a forensic nurse examiner for St. Peter’s Health Partners.

The bags, made up of toiletries, hygiene items and words of encouragement were packed by a number of Siena students looking to do their part.

“I think it’s really important that people are educated about this and that we cause awareness for something so significant,” said Arianna Wiltsie, a freshman.

Each package will help a sexual assault patient who comes into three local hospitals run by St. Peter’s, “I actually can’t wait to give one of these bags to one of our patients because this is the first time that we’ve had so many comfort items in the bag,” said Robin Francesconi, another SPHP forensic nurse exmainer.

It comes as forensic examiners have noticed an alarming trend locally.

“Over the years, I’ve actually been a forensic nurse examiner for six years now, and every year it just seems like we’re seeing more and more patients,” Francesconi explained.

The forensic nurse examiners remind survivors that there are a number of resources available, including visiting the emergency room of St. Peter’s hospitals where an examiner can quickly provide assistance.

The still in limbo state budget also includes resources for domestic and sexual violence prevention. This includes $185,000 for the creation of a gender-based violence training institute, which would establish a mandatory 40-hour training for gender-based and domestic violence victim advocates.

Additional resources for survivors can be found here.