How does the SANE program work?
When a victim of sexual assault first arrives at Memorial Health System, a triage nurse checks vital signs and asks some simple questions about the person's immediate needs. If there are urgent injuries, one of our Emergency Department doctors examines the patient and treats those injuries. Patients are taken to a private, safe and secure room where the on-call SANE representative provides immediate response for sexual assault victims age fourteen and older. Younger children are referred to Children's Hospital.
SANE nurses collaborate with many local organizations to provide counseling support: The Sexual Assault Intervention Network of Eve, Inc., the victim witness program to provide follow-up care, and with law enforcement to assist in cases of legal prosecution.
What does the SANE do?
The goal of the program is to provide the survivor with the comfort and security of treatment by a specially trained female nurse examiner who will provide uninterrupted care, a comprehensive exam to determine the extent of physical injury and proper treatments to begin the healing process. They also provide professional evidence collection for use in court if the survivor chooses to report the crime.
The sexual assault nurse examiner will ask questions about the assault, listen to patient concerns and explain their options. Specifically, the SANE representative can:
- Examine and care for minor injuries; consult with the Emergency Department doctor about any injury or illness concerns.
- Collect evidence that may be used in court to prosecute the person who assaulted the patient
- Provide information and medication to prevent pregnancy
- Provide information and treatment to help prevent sexually transmitted diseases
- Facilitate follow up care
SANEs are required under law to report sexual assaults to local law enforcement. However, the victim has the right to choose to have evidence collected and to decide whether to cooperate with law enforcement by providing information.
Working with other agencies
Memorial Health System's Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner program maintains an on-going working relationship with other organizations that can help survivors. We work closely with human services agencies, law enforcement agencies, Eve, Inc./Sexual Assault Intervention Network and the prosecuting attorney's office. The Sexual Assault Nurse Examiners also will make sure a sexual assault advocate is available to survivors if desired.