Source: The News-Enterprise
ISSUE: Grant expands SANE certification training
OUR VIEW: Service is vital for patients, prosecution
Victims of sexual assault often carry scars.
From the attack itself to uneasiness about reporting an assault, the individual can face waves of deep emotional attacks. Their health care needs and the legal system processes are mutually important but both must be administered expertly.
A recent announcement may alleviate some of the initial anxiety locally.
Hardin Memorial Hospital’s Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner program received a $110,000 grant through the Kentucky Justice and Public Safety Cabinet. It will allow the program to train more nurses who then will be able to provide counseling and help in the prosecution process against offenders in Hardin County and the surrounding area.
The grant will go a long way in pushing the number of currently trained nurses from eight to 18 to address a regrettable local need.
A SANE nurse is a specialized examiner. They are called when a sexual assault is reported to HMH’s emergency department or a victim reports to law enforcement and requires a physical exam.
The specialization can go a long way in the legal process of gaining a conviction.
Also, they provide an exceptional level of care for the patient. The SANE-certified nurse remains with the person for the length of the examination and interview, and are available to counsel victims through the experience. Through October, HMH had conducted 30 SANE assessments, an increase from 2015.
As someone who prosecutes sexual assault cases, Commonwealth’s Attorney Shane Young and his staff understand how critical the initial part of an investigation is and the importance of easing the process for the victim.
“They (the nurses) know exactly what we need … they know the chain of custody and how to collect that evidence,’’ Young said of the nurses. “They bring a level of professionalism that we need in order to make cases in court.”
As part of HMH’s ongoing expansion, the emergency department also will gain two sexual assault-specific rooms, allowing for privacy from the rest of the department.
To become a SANE-certified nurse, there is a 40-hour classroom model and 60-hour clinical requirement – made up of examinations and working with other agencies – which must be completed.
Most importantly, when the goal of 18 nurses is met, HMH will have a SANE-certified nurse available around the clock, every day of the year.