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SANE Program Development

Nurses established the first SANE programs in the mid- to late 1970s, in Minneapolis, Minnesota; Memphis, Tennessee; and Amarillo, Texas. It was not until the late 1980s, however, that these programs came together with other groups to promote this role for nurses. By 1991, the Journal of Emergency Nursing reported on the existence of 20 SANE programs. SANE programs developed rapidly after the mid-1990s, as localities learned about the benefits SANEs offer. The Journal of Emergency Nursing noted that 86 SANE programs were known to exist by 1996. In 1997, the SANE Development and Operation Guide identified 116 programs. The Guide's author, Linda Ledray, estimated that more than 300 programs had been established by July 1999 and that the number is likely to expand much more rapidly in the years to come.7 SANE programs that are not listed in the Guide are urged to register on the Sexual Assault Resource Service Web site at www.sane-sart.com—the Guide can be viewed through the Web site.

SANEs are forensic nurses; however, not all forensic nurses are trained to be SANEs. Forensic nurses also conduct evidentiary exams in cases involving other types of interpersonal violence, public health and safety, emergencies or trauma, patient care facilities, and police and corrections custody abuse.8 To support their work, SANEs and other forensic nurses have worked to build networking opportunities and to encourage the field to officially recognize the importance of forensic nursing. In 1992, representatives from 31 SANE programs from the United States and Canada met and founded the International Association of Forensic Nurses (IAFN). IAFN is an international professional organization of registered nurses formed to develop, promote, and disseminate information about the science of forensic nursing nationally and internationally. The American Nurses Association (ANA) recognized forensic nursing as a specialty area in 1995.

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Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner (SANE) Programs: Improving the Community Response to Sexual Assault Victims
April 2001
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