Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner Seminar

Since January, more than 20 Wiregrass residents have been sexually assaulted.

However, an ongoing program called S.A.N.E. takes Flowers Hospital nurses from the emergency room and into the courtroom.

S.A.N.E. stands for Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner and allows for nurses to do their job and serve as a victim’s advocate.

It has to be done quickly, but if a sexual assault victim goes into a hospital emergency room more than likely they'll wait a while; unless that hospital has Sexual Assault Nurse Examiners.

Susan Marsh, a member of S.A.N.E. at Flower's Hospital said, "We're teaching them how to be an advocate, teach them how to do a sexual assault exam, how to gather DNA evidence, [and] how to maintain a chain of custody."

When a victim goes to a S.A.N.E. supported hospital they're thoroughly examined.

A high-definition microscope captures pictures of victims’ bruises and cuts then stores that information into a confidential data base.

The first of its kind in Dothan, Flowers Hospital trains its nurses annually.

Nurse Kate Miller is a S.A.N.E. student at Flowers Hospital. She says, "I feel like it's important to have an advocate and have somebody specialized to treat their special situation."

And, S.A.N.E. nurses stick with the victim, even when their case goes to trial.

Resident Nurse Nicole Norman says, "They've already been violated so it's very important to try and keep them with one individual rather that several."

However, what may be even more obvious to observers in the class is they're all women.

House of Ruth Projects Coordinator Jessica Rasche said, "It's really important to have female nurses because after being raped, there is that feeling of being raped again once you're in the exam. And we want to try and show compassion and avoid that feeling as much as possible.

The director of Flower Hospital's S.A.N.E. program says most of the nurses who go through this program have dealt with sexual assault directly or indirectly.

The training program will end June 1st when S.A.N.E. joins forces with the Sexual Assault Response Team. Together, the groups will host a mock trial for law enforcement and nurses.

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