The effectiveness of sexual assault nurse examiner (SANE) programs: a review of psychological, medical, legal, and community outcomes

Trauma Violence Abuse. 2005 Oct;6(4):313-29. doi: 10.1177/1524838005280328.


In sexual assault nurse examiner (SANE) programs, specially trained forensic nurses provide 24-hour-a-day, first-response medical care and crisis intervention to rape survivors in either hospitals or clinic settings. This article reviews the empirical literature regarding the effectiveness of SANE programs in five domains:(a) promoting the psychological recovery of survivors, (b) providing comprehensive and consistent post-rape medical care (e.g., emergency contraception, sexually transmitted disease [STD] prophylaxis), (c) documenting the forensic evidence of the crime completely and accurately, (d) improving the prosecution of sexual assault cases by providing better forensics and expert testimony, and (e) creating community change by bringing multiple service providers together to provide comprehensive care to rape survivors. Preliminary evidence suggests that SANE programs are effective in all domains, but such conclusions are tentative because most published studies have not included adequate methodological controls to rigorously test the effectiveness of SANE programs. Implications for practice and future research are discussed.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Counseling
  • Crime Victims / psychology
  • Crime Victims / rehabilitation*
  • Emergency Service, Hospital / legislation & jurisprudence
  • Emergency Service, Hospital / organization & administration*
  • Emergency Service, Hospital / standards
  • Female
  • Forensic Medicine / organization & administration
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Nurse's Role*
  • Nurse-Patient Relations
  • Nursing Diagnosis / legislation & jurisprudence
  • Nursing Diagnosis / organization & administration*
  • Nursing Diagnosis / standards
  • Nursing Service, Hospital / legislation & jurisprudence
  • Nursing Service, Hospital / organization & administration*
  • Nursing Service, Hospital / standards
  • Outcome Assessment, Health Care
  • Program Evaluation
  • Rape / diagnosis*
  • Rape / rehabilitation
  • United States