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How To Use This Guide

An informed, effective response to sexual violence in America transcends the criminal justice system and needs to incorporate many disciplines, including the health care sector. Victims of sexual assault suffer psychological trauma and, frequently, short- and long-term health consequences as a result of victimization. Providing sensitive and evidenced-informed health care to victims is critically important in the aftermath of a sexual assault, and the Office for Victims of Crime (OVC) is committed to promoting the development and sustainability of Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner (SANE) programs throughout the United States, which represent a best practice in providing this care.

To assist nurses and other community leaders in developing, strengthening, and sustaining SANE programs, OVC, in collaboration with other federal partners, the International Association of Forensic Nurses (IAFN), and a diverse group of subject matter experts in the field, revised and enhanced the original SANE Development and Operation Guide (Guide). The new version includes many advances in forensic nursing practice, forensic science, and criminal justice since its first publication in 1999. 

The original Guide served as a blueprint for hundreds of communities to develop local SANE programs. OVC expects that this updated, web-based Guide will continue to serve as a practical, research-based, trauma-informed tool for nurses, physicians, medical directors, victim advocates, prosecutors, and other community leaders who are responsible for developing new SANE programs and enhancing and sustaining existing programs across the country.

This Guide provides a step-by-step outline, beginning with the basics of SANE program development and then examining critical aspects of SANE programming including the legal and ethical foundations of SANE practice, SANE program management and operation, and guidance on how to develop a multidisciplinary team approach and expand your program to provide care to other patients who are victims of violence or other forms of trauma.

Throughout the Guide, you will find resource links, call out boxes, short videos, and the following icons which represent the five key principles of SANE care. 

Patient-Centered Care
Trauma-Informed Care
Evidence-Based Practice
Recognition of Community Uniqueness
Multidisciplinary Approach
Patient-Centered Care Trauma-Informed Care Evidence-Based Practice   Recognition of Community Uniqueness Multidisciplinary Approach

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