Sexual Assault Nurse Examiners (SANE) are specially-trained, registered nurses who have completed education in order to properly examine a patient who has experienced sexual assault or sexual abuse.
A SANE is an important part of a Sexual Assault Response Team (SART), a group of professionals from different areas that collaborate together to develop a plan of care for sexual assault victims.
One of the most significant contributions SANEs make to a victim’s care is the Sexual Assault Forensic Examination (SAFE). During this exam, the SANE performs a detailed
physical and emotional assessment the victim, produces written and photographic documentation of injuries, collects and manages forensic samples, and provides the victim with emotional and social support and resources. At the end of the day, the results of the SAFE examination can be some of the most influential evidence supporting the sexual assault victim’s version of events.
Accordingly, SANEs often testify at trial, describing the results of the SAFE examination or explaining their observations about the victim. The fact SANEs can testify at trial should not discourage victims from seeking their services. Without an appropriate court process (i.e., a court order, subpoena, or a discovery request), SANEs must keep the results of their exams and the identity of the victim strictly confidential.