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An Online Resource Library on Gender-Based Violence.

Forensic Evidence Collection and Care of the Sexual Assault Survivor: The SANE-SART Response

General Material
Published Date
August, 2001

This publication discusses the role of each team member including trained forensic examiners (FE) or Sexual Assault Nurse Examiners (SANEs) in providing appropriate and complete services to victims of rape and abuse. It describes how and why SANE and SART programs came to be developed and offered in emergency departments. It summarizes what is known about how well SANE-SART programs are doing at assisting sexual assault survivors. It indicates that SANE-SART programs have produced higher reporting rates, shorter examination time, better forensic evidence collection, and more complete documentation of the assault. The programs also appear to strengthen collaboration with law enforcement and improve prosecution.

The SANE program operation steps described include: the initial medical evaluation and the evidentiary exam. The paper explains basic documentation, the recommended time frames and chain-of-evidence collection for the exam, and provides information about collection of DNA, seminal fluid, blood and urine evidence. It describes documentation and responses to potential pregnancy, genital trauma , and non-genital injuries. It describes "emergency contraception" options the programs can offer if the sexual assault victim is afraid of pregnancy, discusses crisis intervention and counseling, and describes things the survivor may feel after the exam.