Sexual assault is defined as any kind of unwanted touching of a sexual nature. Sexual assault includes rape, attempted rape, incest and child molestation.
When a sexual assault occurs, it is important to seek medical treatment at a hospital immediately to ensure the recovery of important evidence that could be useful in prosecution.
Sexual Assault Nurse Examiners
Sexual Assault Nurse Examiners (SANE) are registered nurses who have completed advanced education and clinical preparation in forensic examination of sexual assault victims and have passed a rigorous certification exam.
When a sexual assault victim arrives at the hospital, a SANE performs a specialized physical exam, collects and preserves all evidence, documents findings, collects blood and urine samples, and provides medical and psychological referrals. Sexual Assault Nurse Examiners also obtain information about the crime and assess the patient’s psychological functioning to determine, among other things, if the victim is suicidal or in need of professional counseling.
Victims of sexual assault should do the following:
- Seek medical treatment immediately. While there may not be external injuries, there may be internal trauma that requires medical attention. Patients can also receive medication to reduce the risk of sexually transmitted diseases and, if they choose, medication to prevent pregnancy.
- Those who have experienced sexual assault should not wash, change clothes, comb their hair or wipe themselves after urinating. Even if they do not wish to pursue legal action against the perpetrator at that time, by collecting evidence, the option of pressing charges in the future remains.
- Seek counseling or support from others, including mental health professionals. After a sexual assault, many are in shock and may feel fine and able to “cope,” but there can be a delayed reaction to the assault.
For more specific information contact:
Crisis Services (716) 834-3131 - 24-hour hotline