You may be trying to decide whether or not you want to see a medical professional following an assault. A medical exam allows you to have any internal or external injuries you may have sustained treated and also to obtain information about sexually transmitted diseases and pregnancy. Medical exams can also be an important way for evidence to be collected.
Sexual Assault Nurse Examiners (SANE): Forensic Nursing Defined
A forensic nurse, or SANE, is a nurse with specialized training in forensic evidence collection, criminal procedures, and legal testimony expertise. The forensic nurse becomes a liaison between the medical profession and the criminal justice system.
The SANE nurse conducts a very thorough forensic medical exam using a Sexual Assault Evidence Collection Kit.
SANE nurses collaborate as part of a Sexual Assault Response Team (SART). This team is made up of a detective, a SANE nurse, and an advocate from the local rape crisis center. Some SARTs expand to include the regional forensic laboratory and the Commonwealth Attorneys office.
Finding a SANE Nurse
If you decide to report the assault and want forensic evidence to be collected, you may want to seek out a SANE nurse to complete the forensic exam. Not all emergency rooms have access to on-call SANE nurses, so you may want to call the hospital emergency room in advance to ask if they have a trained SANE nurse on-call that day.
Many area hospitals have on-call SANE nurses in the Bluegrass. If you live in Fayette County, University of Kentucky Chandler Hospital runs a SANE program with many on-call SANE nurses available to do forensic examinations.
ALL hospital emergency rooms can and must provide forensic evidence collection and medical treatment for victims of sexual violence even if a SANE program does not exist at that facility (KRS 216B.400). Survivors also have a right to be transferred to a hospital with a SANE program, if their local hospital does not have one, to have evidence collected should they wish.
The Kentucky Association of Sexual Assault Programs has some helpful information about medical exams and SANE programs: