This third episode of the 2022 Sexual Assault Awareness Month mini-season of the National Institute of Justice’s (NIJ’s) Just Science podcast series is an interview with Kelly Taylor - a Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner (SANE), Sexual Assault Care Coordinator. and Forensic Healthcare Program Manager – who discusses trauma-informed support for sexual assault survivors and the prevalence of strangulation in sexual assault cases.
An introductory comment for the interview indicates that trauma-informed, victim-centered expertise and support from SANEs is crucial in providing appropriate medical attention and services for healing. Without such services, sexual assault survivors may not fully disclose all aspects of the assault and whether strangulation occurred. In her interview, Kelly Taylor discusses how her work as a SANE and a multidisciplinary team member has broadened her understanding of trauma-informed care. She mentions that as a secondary function, a forensic examiner or SANEs should collect forensic evidence, identify injuries, and perform forensic photography. Kelly Taylor also describes her role in reaching out to other professionals involved in the management of sexual assault cases, including the staff of rape crisis centers, law enforcement personnel, and legal professionals. She also provided leadership in establishing a training course in trauma-informed interviewing from a medical perspective. She notes the importance of informing survivors about their role and rights in how their cases are managed. She discusses her observation of the increase in strangulation cases with and without sexual assault. This requires that medical and other professionals who may interact with crime survivors understand the protocol for recognizing and treating the physical and mental harms that may accompany strangulation, especially when it is in the context of a sexual assault.
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