Understanding the Importance of SANE-SAFEs

As an essential part of the actions focused towards helping victims, SANEs (sexual assault nurse examiners) and SAFEs (sexual assault forensic examiner) make up a segment of the SART (sexual assault response team). This blog will explore what they do and their importance in victim assistance, as outlined in our textbook, Sexual Assault 2E, Vol. 1: The Multidisciplinary Team.

The Sexual Assault Response Team consists of the SANE or SAFE, a law enforcement officer or investigator, a prosecutor, a victim advocate, and a lab specialist. Their role is to provide for the patient for the initial report and everything that follows. The SANEs role is in the emergency room, collecting evidence from victims for the rape kit. The difference between SANEs and SAFEs lies in certification, but both aid victims in similar ways.

In a fairly new trend, SART programs started appearing more and more frequently after the 1994 Violence Against Women Act. The role of these programs was intended to improve services for victims after years of watching negligence and misunderstanding of what these victims in particular need in the emergency room. Slowly but steadily SART programs and SANEs gained recognition for being some of the first medical professionals to recognize the unique situations of rape and sexual assault survivors.

Recently, their role has been emphasized by the recent upheaval over decades-old rape kit backlogs. While any hospital or medical personnel may collect evidence for a rape kit, accuracy is important to preserve evidence. SANEs are the top professionals to conduct the collection with accuracy and precision.

SART programs emphasize why it’s important to approach this from a multidisciplinary angle, like we do in all our books. Everyone on these teams have to work together for the victims, and having a base understanding of what each member needs is vital for justice and healing. For more information on what we do, visit our website or subscribe to our newsletter.


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