Persons who have experienced a recent sexual assault have unique medical, emotional and forensic needs requiring a trauma-informed approach to post-assault care. Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner (SANE) programs have demonstrated improved quality of health care for patients who have experienced a sexual assault as well as an increased quality of forensic evidence collection, enhanced support with police investigations, and an increased rate of successful prosecution of cases (1). However, access to SANE programs is not uniformly available across the United States and maintaining proficiency in forensic examinations is challenging in remote areas without large volumes of patients. Attrition rates are high when clinicians provide trauma care without support.
An Innovative Solution
In 2012, the Massachusetts Department of Public Health received a $3.3 million grant from the U.S. Department of Justice, Office for Victims of Crime, to establish a national telemedicine center to serve victims of sexual assault. Over the past three years, the National TeleNursing Center has evolved from a vision to a functioning Center, with a team of expert SANEs providing 24/7 consultation to licensed providers across the country as they care for adults and adolescents who have recently experienced a sexual assault. The NTC currently provides 24/7 services to six pilot sites in Arizona, California, and Massachusetts.
For more information about the Center, contact us at 617-243-6912 during business hours, or e-mail Amanda Wyma, the NTC Administrator.