SANEs & Victim Advocates

ICESA SANEs & Victim Advocates

What is a SANE?

A Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner (SANE) is a registered nurse who has been specifically trained to provide comprehensive care to sexual violence victims. The SANE is trained to identify physical trauma, photograph and document injuries, collect and manage forensic samples/evidence, maintain the chain of custody, and provide necessary referrals. SANEs are trained in both the physical and emotional aspects of caring for victims of sexual assault. SANEs often collaborate with other disciplines in the community who provide unique services to sexual assault victims. These may include: advocates, law enforcement, crime lab personnel, child protection and attorneys. These professionals strive to assure that the response to a patient who has been sexually assaulted is victim-centered. The SANE also testifies in any legal proceedings related to the examination and ensures the proper chain of custody and integrity of the samples collected during the forensic medical exam is maintained so that the evidence will be admissible in court.

What is a Victim Advocate?

Victim advocates are professionals trained to support victims. By Indiana code, “victim advocate” means an individual employed or appointed by or who volunteers for a victim services provider victim which can include a sexual assault program, rape crisis center, domestic violence program, battered women’s shelter, transitional housing program for victims of domestic violence; or a program that has as one (1) of its primary purposes to provide services to an individual against whom an act of sexual assault, human and sexual trafficking domestic or family violence, dating violence, or stalking  is committed. Advocates offer victims information, emotional support, and assist with linking them to resources and services in the community. They are available to meet victims, if requested, at the hospital to provide support throughout the forensic medical examination and throughout the next steps that are chosen , by the victim, that are to be taken. In addition, victim advocates can assist the victim with obtaining and completing necessary paperwork, accompaniment to court, as well as assist with contacting organizations, such as criminal justice or social service agencies to get help or information for victims. Some advocates staff crisis hotlines and run support groups.

Sexual Assault Victim Advocates in Indiana should receive the Sexual Assault CORE 40, designed specifically for working with victims of Sexual Assault. The CORE 40 (40 refers to the total hours of training received ) is designed for Sexual Assault Advocates to provide knowledgeable, compassionate, responsive, and effective advocacy to survivors of sexual assault. To that end, this training is designed to increase both the knowledge and skill base for participants. The Sexual Assault CORE 40 is just that, 40 hours of core sexual assault specific information that an advocate should be educated on and be familiar with in order to perform the duties required within this position. This training emphasizes both an experiential and interactive approach to learning. For more information about upcoming training’s, please contact us via our website or feel free to call us at 317-872-1086.

How Advocates Work with Victims

Advocates offer victims information about the different options available to them and support the victims decision. Advocates are there to stand along-side the victim, provide them with choices and help them regain a feeling and sense of control.  Advocates are committed to maintaining the highest possible levels of confidentiality in their communications with victims. It is important for victim advocates to advise victims of any limitations to their confidentiality upon working with them. In addition, it is always encouraged that victims understand any limitations to their confidentiality* as well and to feel free to ask this question of their advocate.