If a victim of sexual assault or rape seeks medical attention or treatment at a Bucks County hospital, a medical-forensic exam is conducted by a Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner (SANE) who is specially trained to care for individuals who have experienced a sexual assault. The purpose of the exam is to provide the victim with the medical care they need; including assessing for injury with emergency medical consultation, providing post-exposure prophylactic treatment for sexually transmitted infections (STIs), screening for pregnancy, and obtaining forensic evidence. The medical-forensic exam is free, and a victim of sexual assault does not need to report the assault to the police to have an exam.
Sexual Assault Exam Accompaniment
NOVA staff and trained volunteers are available to accompany survivors of sexual assault to the Emergency Room in five hospitals in Bucks County (Grandview Hospital, Doylestown Hospital, Jefferson Bucks, St. Mary Medical Center, and Lower Bucks Hospital). Emergency room advocates will provide accompaniment, emotional support, information and referral services during SANE Exams (see below for more info). It is the sexual assault survivor’s choice to accept or decline this service.
Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner (SANE)
Bucks County offers Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner (SANE) programs at five locations: Grandview Hospital, Doylestown Hospital, Jefferson Bucks, St. Mary’s Medical Center, and Lower Bucks Hospital. Recognizing that sexual assault can be devastating to the survivor, the Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner utilizes trauma-informed care to mitigate additional stress throughout the medical-forensic exam. The SANE offers survivors prompt, compassionate care and a comprehensive medical-forensic exam. In addition to helping preserve the survivor’s dignity and reducing psychological trauma, SANE professionals strive to enhance evidence collection for more effective investigations and better prosecutions.
A Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner is a registered nurse (R.N.) who has advanced education and clinical preparation in forensic examination of sexual assault survivors. A Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner can speed up the evidentiary examination process by reducing the time victims have to wait in a hospital’s emergency department and the time it takes to complete the examination. The quality of the examination is enhanced through the SANE’s specialized expertise in identifying physical trauma and psychological needs, collaborating emergency medical care with discharge planning, collecting critical evidence, documenting essential forensic narratives, and providing necessary referrals for continuity of patient-centered care.
Bucks County’s Sexual Assault Nurse Examiners are on call 24-hours a day.
During the course of the exam, Sexual Assault Nurse Examiners:
- Obtain information about the survivor’s pertinent health history and the crime.
- Assess the need for counseling and crisis referrals.
- Perform a physical examination to inspect and evaluate the body of the survivor (not a routine physical exam).
- Collect and preserve all evidence and document findings.
- Collect urine and blood samples and send them to designated laboratories for analysis in cases where drug-facilitated sexual assault is suspected.
- Treat and/or refer the victim for further medical treatment (a SANE may treat minor injuries such as minor cuts and abrasions, but further evaluation and care of serious trauma is referred to a designated medical facility or physician).
- Provide the victim with prophylactic medications for the prevention of sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) and other care needed as a result of the crime.
- Provide the victim with referrals for ongoing medical and psychological care and support.
For more information about Bucks County’s Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner programs, contact NOVA at 215-343-6543.