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Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner
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Sexual Assault Nurse Examiners

Image of a flyer on Responsing to the Trauma of Sexual Assault and AbuseSexual Assault Nurse Examiners (SANE) are registered nurses who have completed specialized education and clinical preparation in the medical forensic care of the patient who has experienced sexual assault or abuse.

One component of the streamlined care the SANE can offer is the comprehensive medical forensic examination. This exam at it’s broadest is composed of the medical forensic history, a detailed physical and emotional assessment, written/electronic and photographic documentation, collection and management of forensic samples, and providing emotional and social support and resources. The SANE also testifies in any legal proceedings related to the examination and ensures the proper chain of custody and integrity of the samples is maintained so that the evidence will be admissible in court.

The SANE often collaborates with other disciplines in the community who provide unique services to sexual assault victims. These may include: advocates, law enforcement, crime lab personnel, child protection and attorneys. These professionals are also striving to assure that the response to a patient who has been sexually assaulted in their community is victim-centered and compassionate, resulting in a successful criminal justice response.

To become a SANE, you must first be a registered nurse (or advanced practice), preferably with two years or more experience in areas of practice that require advanced physical assessment skills, such as emergency, critical care and maternal child health. The SANE training should meet the IAFN SANE Education Guidelines and will consist of both classroom and clinical components.  In addition, nurses should understand their local community requirements as they vary significantly between state, province, or country Boards of Nursing and/or Colleges of Nursing as it relates to SANE practice.  

After beginning practice as a SANE, nurses who have obtained SANE training and meet the clinical practice requirements have the opportunity to take a board certification examination through the Association. The Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner-Adult/Adolescent (SANE-A®) and the Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner-Pediatric (SANE-P®) board certification tests are for SANEs who care for this specific population of patients. The eligibility requirements can be found in the SANE Certification handbook.  




  • Our Sexual Assault Forensic Exam Technical Assistance Project:
  • Technical assistance and essential knowledge for sexual assault medical forensic examinations and related issues, especially in regard to the National Protocol for Sexual Assault Medical Forensic Examinations of Adults and Adolescents (US DOJ, 2013)
  • Contact your state chapter of IAFN
  • Find a local SANE program 
  • Find local SANE Training
  •  Selecting a SANE Training
  •  National Training Standards for Sexual Assault Forensic Examiners
  •  IAFN Education Guidelines for Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner Adult/Adolescent and Pediatric

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