SANE training rolls out in Idaho to raise sexual assault awareness

Nurses across the state are back in the classroom in an effort to change the culture of sexual assault in Idaho communities. (CBS2 Staff Photo)

Nurses across the state are back in the classroom in an effort to change the culture of sexual assault in Idaho communities.

Coordinators are calling SANE training instrumental to the outcomes of these cases because they are the first step in evidence collection.

“We understand that such a small percentage actually report and then go through the legal process but just being that person that's really understanding, non-judgmental, spends the time with them and make sure that is ok medically, physically emotionally, that is such a rewarding part of nursing," said Bethany Copper, Forensic Nurse Examiner.

60 nurses have participated in the newly funded Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner (SANE) training. Aimed to build awareness for more people to report sexual assault.

"We always say if you build it they will come. The awareness just isn't where we need it to be in the community yet so having properly trained nurses will help spread the word," Copper said.

Last summer, a bill was passed to fund sexual assault exams. Including a grant for SANE training and evidence collection supplies.

Coordinators say this puts Idaho at the forefront of sexual assault awareness across the nation.

"Our job as a sane nurse is to do a medical exam for any victims of domestic violence or sexual assault that come through either the ER or privately through law enforcement," said Anne Wardle, SANE Coordinator.

The 40-hour, specialized training, is what differentiates a registered nurse from a SANE nurse. Taking care of a patient’s medical well-being first. Then, collecting any forensic evidence that may help the investigation.

"We're able to spend that one on one time with each patient that we see that maybe we don't always have the luxury of, of other aspects of nursing especially in emergency nurse and care so having a SANE nurse there not only gives a patient trauma informed care and a really excellent exam but then made sure that they are connected with resources within the community that they'll need after they leave the hospital," Copper said.

Coordinators say SANE training goes beyond the exam table. It's follow up treatment and therapy. It's also working with other members of the community such as law enforcement, advocates and the legal process.

"They want them to receive the highest quality of care and they want to seek justice for them so what I feel this means for the victim of sexual assault is that they will be well cared for, listened to, and advocated for. So hopefully they will never feel like they cannot or should not report," said Katherine Kerner, Nurse Program Manager, St. Luke’s.

Right now, Ada and Canyon counties have two sexual assault response teams (SART) giving domestic violence and sexual assault victims the opportunity to get a forensic exam.

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