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Sexual assault (SANE program)

Mercyhealth has specially trained sexual assault nurse examiners (SANE) who provide around-the-clock, compassionate care to those suffering from traumatic injuries caused by sexual assault.

Our sexual assault nurse examiners are registered nurses who are trained to perform forensic examinations on patients who report sexual assault.

Our nurse examiners provide

  • Their full attention focused on the care and comfort of the patient.
  • Care to children and adults, 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
  • Compassionate crises intervention.
  • An assessment that includes a trauma-focused mental health evaluation and immediate mental health intervention.
  • Care using state-of-the-art equipment to enhance injury assessment and documentation.
  • Support with concerns dealing with sexually transmitted infections and pregnancy, including prophylactic treatment to prevent sexually transmitted infections and pregnancy (Plan B).
  • Clothing to victims, if needed, after the exam.
  • A follow-up care plan for further medical and/or mental health needs. This can be shared with the victim’s primary doctor with the victim’s permission.
  • Help with finding the victim safe shelter, if needed.
  • Expert witness testimony if the case goes to court. SANE nurses are trained to collect medical-forensic evidence that may be useful in court.

Reporting to police

Victims age 18 and older

Mercyhealth’s SANE nurse will help the victim report the crime to police, if they wish. If the victim is unsure, we offer anonymous reporting and evidence collection. The exam is led and directed by the victim’s needs and wishes.

Victims under age 18

Wisconsin state statutes mandate that we report sexual assault or physical abuse of a child. The exam is always directed to the needs and direction the child is willing to be examined.

What to expect after the exam

After the exam, a SANE nurse will contact the victim to discuss lab test results and to offer additional referrals as needed.

With the victim’s permission, referring and/or follow-up health care providers will receive examination information and lab results, and will be contacted to discuss the victim’s follow-up needs.

For more details about Mercyhealth’s SANE program, call 608.756.6522