Every Woman’s Centre Launches Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner Program

The nursing team has completed education and clinical preparation and the supports are in place as Sydney’s Every Woman’s Centre prepares to start the Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner (SANE) Program on Monday, September 17.

The SANE team will provide 24/7 on call medical and forensic response to sexual assault in collaboration with Nova Scotia Health Authority (NSHA) staff at Cape Breton Regional Hospital’s Emergency Department.

“This is an important service for our communities, especially for people who have experienced sexual assault,” says Louise Smith MacDonald, Executive Director of Every Woman’s Centre in Sydney.  “Our centre has worked hard to establish SANE and were fortunate to be selected as the service provider through the RFP process. We are proud to be serving our community in this way and know it will make a difference for victims and their families.”     

The service is available to anyone 13 years of age or older who experienced a recent sexual assault. People wanting to access the trained Nurse Examiners can call police, the local SANE response line: 1-844-858-8036, or go to the Cape Breton Regional Hospital Emergency Department. 

Sexual Assault Nurse Examiners are a specialized area of nursing that requires advanced education and clinical preparation. There are currently 12 Registered Nurses on call supporting the local SANE program with two additional RNs set to join the team in the future. 

“SANE helps address the unique needs of people who have experienced sexual assault. That can include medical care, forensic examination, supportive follow-up and expert testimony,” says Susan Wilson, NSHA Provincial Coordinator with the Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner (SANE) Program.  “This specialized assessment, treatment and care approach for victims can provide a level of comfort at a very difficult time. We are pleased to be working with community partners such as Every Woman’s Centre to ensure SANE is available.”

No patients are turned away without assessment and treatment being offered or provided. Physicians in emergency departments can also complete the medical forensic exams, including sexual assault kits if necessary.  The on call SANE team members will provide phone support to Emergency Departments in areas not covered by direct SANE response.

SANE expansion comes from a 700 thousand dollar government investment for programs in Western and Eastern Zones of NSHA as part of a provincial Sexual Violence Strategy. In addition to Every Women’s Centre’s new program serving Cape Breton; the Antigonish Women’s Resource Centre and Sexual Assault Services Association delivers service to people in the Strait and Port Hawkesbury areas.

Access to SANE can be coordinated through any emergency department in Nova Scotia, by calling local police or the RCMP, or through the 24 hour response line: 1-833-577-SANE (7263) Please visit www.nshealth.ca/sane for more information on SANE.                       

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Media Contacts:
Louise Smith-MacDonald, Every Woman’s Centre: 902-567-1212              

 Nova Scotia Health Authority Media Relations: 1-844-483-3344