A Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner (SANE) is a registered nurse who has been specifically trained to provide comprehensive care to sexual violence victims. The SANE is trained to identify physical trauma, document injuries, collect evidence and maintain the chain of custody, and provide necessary referrals. To become a SANE, a registered nurse must successfully complete a 40-hour training. An additional 40-60 hours of supervised clinical experience are also required.
Dr. Linda Ledray, PhD, RN, FAAN, the director of Minnesota's Sexual Assault Resource Service and international SANE trainer, estimates that more than 300 SANE programs have been established since 1999. Where they exist, SANE programs have made a profound difference in the quality of care provided to sexual assault victims. SANE programs are enhancing evidence collection for more effective investigations and better prosecutions. Particularly in non-stranger sexual assault cases, thorough documentation of evidence corroborating a victim's account of an assault by establishing lack of consent has led to more successful prosecutions.
The SANE training is designed to provide a comprehensive education program in the complete assessment, evaluation and treatment of the adult sexual assault survivor. With the advent of SANE programs, it became possible for sexual assault victims to consistently receive prompt and compassionate emergency care from medical professionals who understand victimization issues.
A SANE can speed up the evidentiary examination process by reducing the time victims have to wait in a hospital's emergency department and the time it takes to complete the examination. The quality of the examination is usually improved because an experienced SANE is adept at identifying physical trauma and psychological needs, ensuring that victims receive appropriate medical care, knowing what evidence to look for and how to document injuries and other forensic evidence, and providing necessary referrals.
A SANE program can be tailored to the needs of any locality or region to provide a victim-sensitive solution to systemic gaps in the medical-legal response to sexual assault victims. WV FRIS has made a commitment to offer information and technical assistance to individuals and institutions interested in developing SANE programs.
To learn more about SANE advocacy in West Virginia please visit the official website of the:
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