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Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner (SANE) Programs: Improving the Community Response to Sexual Assault Victims

NCJ Number
Kristin Littel
Date Published
April 2001
19 pages
This paper provides an overview of Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner (SANE) programs and their contribution to improving community response to sexual assault victims, identifies promising practices in such programs, and provides practical guidelines for establishing a SANE program.
A Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner is a registered nurse who has advanced education and clinical preparation in the forensic examination of sexual assault victims. Where they exist, SANE programs have made a profound difference in the quality of care provided to sexual assault victims. SANE's offer victims prompt, compassionate care and comprehensive forensic evidence collection. In addition to helping preserve the victim's dignity and reduce psychological trauma, SANE programs are enhancing evidence collection for more effective investigations and better prosecutions. The Federal Office for Victims of Crime (OVC) has provided strong leadership in promoting the development of SANE programs. After discussing the history of SANE program development, this paper outlines the common characteristics of SANE programs, followed by a discussion of data collection by SANE programs, which monitor cases from the initial evidence collection through prosecution; in so doing, they often collect valuable data on the results of the evidence obtained. Other topics discussed are SANE's as key responders in a coordinated response to sexual assault victims, collaboration between SANE's and victim advocates, and the impact of SANE's on law enforcement and prosecution. The discussion of how to start a SANE program describes the support services offered by the OVC, as well as staff training, program location, and funding issues. Promising SANE practices are then summarized. 23 annotated resources, 27 references, and 74 notes