SANEs in Action

  • Sexual Assault Nurse Examiners (SANEs) are specially trained and certified professionals skilled in performing quality forensic medical-legal exams. Should a case go to trial, the SANEs are then available to testify
  • SANEs are available by beeper and respond within 40-60 minutes to the designated SANE site ready to care for the victim of sexual assault
  • SANEs will document the account of the assault, perform necessary medical exams, testing and treatment, then collect crucial, time sensitive evidence using the Massachusetts Sexual Assault Evidence Collection Kit distributed by the Executive Office of Public Safety
  • A forensic exam performed by a SANE can take up to 4 hours from beginning to discharge of the patient.
  • SANEs provide medical care to survivors without interruption, therefore maintaining the chain of evidence from the exam
  • SANEs perform exams with state of the art forensic equipment and supplies and are kept up to date with the latest in forensic science developments
  • SANEs receive expert training, supervision, and quality assurance monitoring
  • SANEs provide preventative treatment for HIV, STDs, and pregnancy

SANE Enhances Public Safety through Increased Prosecution of Rapists

  • Massachusetts DA's anecdotally report alleged perpetrators are more likely to plead guilty before trial when the prosecution presents evidence collected by SANEs, saving enormous prosecution costs.
  • Ongoing developments in the science of evidence collection, e.g. DNA testing, require a higher level of expertise and consistency in the collection of evidence for sexual assault cases.
  • Standardizing the preservation of the chain of evidence by:
    • Providing expertise by quickly and uniformly incorporating improvements in forensic evidence collection techniques
    • Ensuring that SANE evidence is transported properly to the proper crime lab
    • Monitoring the quality of evidence submitted to the crime lab

SANE has Broad Criminal Justice and Health Care Community Endorsement and Support

  • The Emergency Nurses Association has endorsed the MA SANE Program as a national model
  • Members of the Massachusetts SANE Board include :
    • Disabled Persons Protection Commission

    • Massachusetts Medical Society
    • Executive Office of Public Safety and Security
    • Department of Children and Families
    • Jane Doe Inc.
    • Massachusetts Hospital Association
    • Governor's Council to Address Sexual & Domestic Violence
    • Boston Police Department Crime Lab Unit
    • Massachusetts Office of Children, Youth, and Families
    • Massachusetts Children's Alliance
    • Massachusetts College of Emergency Physicians
    • Massachusetts Office for Victim Assistance
    • Massachusetts District Attorneys Association
    • William F. Connell School of Nursing Boston College
    • Massachusetts Chapter of American Academy of Pediatrics
    • Massachusetts Nurses Association
    • Massachusetts Emergency Nurses Association
    • Massachusetts Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children
    • Office of the Attorney General
    • State Police Crime Laboratory
    • Massachusetts State Police

Recent SANE Program Achievements

This multi-disciplinary, statewide collaboration has resulted in numerous advancements in the quality of care being delivered and the quality evidence being collected and preserved.

  • In collaboration with the Executive Office of Public Safety and Security (EOPSS), new date rape drug testing guidelines for sexual assault victims are being implemented statewide at the Massachusetts State Police Crime lab. Data from this testing has yielded a significant number of patients with date rape drugs in their systems during the time of the assault.
  • In collaboration with the Boston Area Rape Crisis Center, a toll free hotline was established for victims who wish to obtain toxicology results from unreported cases. (866-269-4265) Victims who wish to receive results from reported cases can contact their local DA's office.
  • Protocol developments now enable victims of sexual assault to access the results of date rape drug testing without having to report with police
  • To increase the compliance rate for health care provider mandatory reporting for sexual assault cases, the Executive Office of Public Safety and Security (EOPSS) uses the SANE documentation forms as the statewide mandatory reporting form. As a result, there has been an increase in the reporting by 700%.
  • The SANE Program has offered statewide trainings to Emergency Department providers on the standards of evidence collection and the care of sexual assault patients
  • The SANE Program has collaborated with other state agencies to develop protocols for the care and management of pediatric sexual assault patients and has produced a forensic evidence collection kit for children under the age of 12. These pediatric protocols and evidence collection kit were developed under the principle of “Do No Harm”.  This examination is not invasive or painful.
  • In order to provide services to the most injured sexual assault patients who may immediately be admitted to intensive care units, protocols now allow SANEs to see victims outside of the ED setting

This information is provided by the Violence Prevention and Intervention Services within the Department of Public Health.