Become expert in the care for survivors of sexual assault

Massachusetts Sexual Assault Nurse Examiners (SANE nurses) provide compassionate, trauma-informed, expert forensic nursing care to sexual assault patients of all ages.

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Mary Walz-Watson is a sexual assault nurse examiner. She has short curly hair. She places her right hand under her chin in this portrait.
“While difficult at times, this work has brought me such joy and gratitude for the SANE program and SANE nurses across the state. We make a difference for our patients — not only in the moment, but moving forward in the healing process.”

Mary Walz-Watson, Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner (SANE)
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Sexual Assault Nurse Examiners (SANEs)

Massachusetts Sexual Assault Nurse Examiners (SANEs) provide compassionate, trauma-informed, expert forensic nursing care to sexual assault patients of all ages. The program also provides specialized training and certification for nurses and physicians providing medical forensic examinations at no cost to patients in designated hospitals and Children’s Advocacy Centers (CACs)

To apply for MA SANE certification training, you must be a registered nurse, nurse practitioner, certified nurse midwife, or physician in Massachusetts with at least 3 years of clinical experience. Knowledge or a background in violence against women, sexual assault or domestic violence is preferable. SANE nurses are exceptionally caring individuals who want to affect the lives of sexual assault survivors.    

Pediatric SANE 

These nurse practitioners are provided with specialized 1:1 training in the care of children and adolescents who have been sexually assaulted/abused. These Pediatric SANEs are part of a multidisciplinary team within 10 Children’s Advocacy Centers across the state. They provide trauma-informed, developmentally appropriate care, including the option for forensic examinations, helping ensure the child’s health and well-being. Pediatric SANEs may serve as fact/expert witnesses for cases that move through the criminal justice system.   

Adult/Adolescent SANE Regional Coordinators 

DPH trains nurses with at least three years of experience as Adult/Adolescent SANEs who are then hired by DPH as independent contractors to provide on-call coverage on a regional basis for 33 sites across the state. SANE contractors may also be eligible to receive specialized training to use secure video-conference technology to support sexual assault patients and clinicians caring for them through forensic exams/evidence collection. TeleSANE services are provided at 10 DPH-designated hospitals. 

Regional Coordinators work with DPH-designated in-person SANE sites across six regions. They manage on-call scheduling, support SANE contractors, and collaborate with designated SANE site liaisons and community rape crisis centers to ensure the best patient care. Regional Coordinators also lead trainings for hospital staff, responders, and others about the care of sexual assault patients and SANE services.   

SANE Program Educator 

DPH employs an Educator/Training Coordinator/Clinical Coordinator for each component of the program (Pediatrics, Adult/Adolescent, TeleSANE). These positions are expert SANE clinicians with master’s degrees, responsible for initial training and continuing education for SANEs, TeleSANEs, and Pediatric SANEs. They work together to meet the needs of almost 200 Pediatric, Adult/Adolescent, and TeleSANE clinicians across the Commonwealth.  

SANE Program Associate Directors  

DPH also employs an Associate Director for each component of the program (Pediatric, Adult/Adolescent, TeleSANE). These positions are core leadership team members for the SANE Program, participating in strategic planning and program development for SANE services statewide. They also collaborate with other state partners and agencies to ensure trauma-informed responses for sexual assault patients across the system.   

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