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Implementing SANE Programs in Rural Communities: The West Virginia Regional Mobile SANE Project
Publication Date:  June 2008
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A SANE Program for Rural West Virginia
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Office of Justice Programs Seal   Office for Victims of Crime, Putting Victims First

A SANE Program for Rural West Virginia

What Distinguishes SANEs From Other Nurses?

SANEs are registered nurses who have advanced education and clinical preparation in conducting forensic medical examinations of sexual assault victims.4,5 Experienced SANEs offer survivors of sexual assault compassion and a commitment to preserving their dignity, expertise in identifying physical trauma and psychological needs, skill in coordinating appropriate care and referrals, knowledge about what evidence to look for and how to document injuries and other forensic evidence, and expertise in how to preserve forensic evidence for later use in court.

Most SANE programs use on-call nurses to provide around-the-clock coverage for a medical facility, commonly a hospital emergency department.6 When staff identify a patient as a victim of sexual assault, they first assess and treat any serious injuries she or he may have, and request that an on-call SANE come in to examine the victim.7 Thorough evidence collection and testimony by SANEs have helped prosecutors win increased numbers of convictions and guilty pleas from offenders.8