Do you know SANE? Should you know SANE? What is a SANE?
The SANE Program provides 24/7 rapid response to sexual assault victims age 14 and older with compassionate, confidential care and forensic examinations performed by certified Sexual Assault Nurse Examiners (SANEs).
SANE stands for Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner . SANE is an RN who has been specifically trained to:
1. Provide comprehensive care to sexual assault patients;
2. Demonstrate competency in conducting a medical forensic exam to include evaluation for
3. Have the expertise to provide effective courtroom testimony; and
4. Show compassion and sensitivity to survivors of sexual assault.
HISTORY – SANE Program Development
The first SANE program was established by nurses in mid- to late 1970s, in Minneapolis, Minnesota; Memphis, Tennessee; and Amarillo, Texas. It was not until the late 1980s, however, that these programs came together with other groups to promote this role for nurses. By 1991, the Journal of Emergency Nursing reported on the existence of 20 SANE programs. SANE programs developed rapidly after the mid-1990s, as localities learned about the benefits SANEs offer.
The Journal of Emergency Nursing noted that 86 SANE programs were known to exist by 1996. In 1997, the SANE Development and Operation Guide identified 116 programs. The Guide’s author, Linda Ledray, estimated that more than 300 programs had been established by July 1999 and that the number is likely to expand much more rapidly in the years to come. In 1992, representatives from 31 SANE programs from the United States and Canada met and founded the International Association of Forensic Nurses (IAFN). IAFN is an international professional organization of registered nurses formed to develop, promote, and disseminate information about the science of forensic nursing nationally and internationally. The American Nurses Association (ANA) recognized forensic nursing as a specialty area in 1995.
Though Texas was one of the first states to create a SANE program in the mid-late 1970’s, it wasn’t until November of 2010 that Dallas, TX acquired Dallas’s first SANE program at Texas Health Presbyterian Dallas in north Dallas. Prior to then Dallas, Texas was the largest city in the nation without a SANE program. Three years later, January of 2014 Dallas now had it’s the second SANE program at Methodist Dallas Medical Center in the southern sector of the city. Out of 47 hospitals Dallas County now has two hospitals with SANE trained nurses and doctors.
Why is Senate Bill 1191 and the SANE program so important?
Senate Bill 1191 termed the Rape Exam Law, which was signed into law by Governor Perry and went into effect September 1 of 2013. This transformative new law requires every hospital in the state of Texas with an emergency room to begin performing rape kits when a victim does not want to be transferred to another location.
Prior to Senate Bill 1191 becoming law victims of rape and other sex crimes were turned away from any hospital that did not have a rape kit. Victims were sent to Parkland Hospital near downtown Dallas and Texas Health Presbyterian Dallas in north Dallas. They were the only hospitals in the city of Dallas that had rape kits. To receive care and help victims who were already in a traumatized state, frigid and scared were told they had to go to another hospital miles away . This was unbearable for many. Many that had the strength to take this first step to seek help and support at a hospital became discouraged and gave up, never reporting their assault. When Senate Bill 1191 was passed in September of 2013 that meant all hospitals in Dallas County had to have rapes kits and victims no longer had to travel to another hospital to get treatment, help and support.
Sexual Assault Nurse Examiners (SANE) programs are so important because the process can make the difference in not only finding the offender but more so prosecuting the offender. In doing that the victim many times feels empowered and validated and the offender is stopped from causing harm to others (stats show a sex offender commits 7-9 sex crimes before he or she is caught).
SANE nuses are forensic nurses. SANE forensic nurses conduct evidentiary exams in sexual assault cases. This is very key for legal proceedings and court cases. Other forensic nurses collect evidence in other types of cases such as interpersonal violence, public health and safety, emergencies or trauma, patient care facilities, etc.
The SANE program supports community efforts to address the crime of sexual assault by establishing a process for accurate evidence collection and support for sexual assault survivors. A Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner (SANE) is an RN who has been specifically trained to:
- Provide comprehensive care to sexual assault survivors;
- Demonstrate currency of practice in the care and treatment of patients who present with a complaint of sexual assault or abuse;
- Have the ability to provide effective courtroom testimony; and
- Show compassion and sensitivity to survivors of sexual assault.
The opening of The Methodist Dallas SANE Program is a huge advancement in bridging what has long been an obvious gap in services between the south of the Trinity River and north of the river. Now, south of the Trinity is receiving the same high quality of service through the providing of rape kits and the SANE program. These services are being performed by SANE nurses who provide immediate and compassionate medical care and are said to have the most advanced level of forensic evidence collection skills in the nation. Exams and on site services and support are of no cost to the victim, and their family .
If you have any questions, please contact OAG at 512-936-1270 or [email protected] .
Help at the Local Level for Survivors
If you have been sexually assaulted and are seeking help or information, you can contact your local sexual assault center for free and confidential services. The free services that are available at your local center include:
- 24 hour crisis hotline
- Crisis intervention
- Hospital advocacy & accompaniment
- Law enforcement advocacy & accompaniment
- Legal advocacy & court accompaniment
To get in touch with your local sexual assault center you can call the RAINN ( Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network )at 1-800-656-HOPE (4673). For more information about sexual assault awareness efforts in the state of Texas or for a listing of Texas sexual assault programs you can contact the Texas Association Against Sexual Assault (TAASA) at 512-474-7190, Dallas County contact DARCC (Dallas Area Rape Crisis Center) Hotline: 972-641-RAPE (7273).
Frequently Asked Questions