Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner (SANE) Program
call 1-877-880-SANE (7263) 24 hours a day, seven days a week
Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner (SANE) Program Manager
Sexual violence is never the fault of the victim or survivor. Every victim or survivor has the right to be treated with dignity and respect and to decide the path they want to take.
Our SANE nurses provide specialized emergency response and immediate care for victims and survivors of sexual assault of all genders, 13 years of age and older. They offer medical assessments and forensic exams> (also known as “evidence collection”) as decided upon by every victim or survivor. Our SANE nurses know that sexual assault can be ongoing, as in situations of sexual abuse.
Our SANE nurses can be reached 24 hours a day, seven days a week by calling
1-877-880-SANE (7263) or by contacting any of the following:
Hospital Emergency Rooms*
- Antigonish (St. Martha’s Regional Hospital): 902-867-4500
- Guysborough (Guysborough Memorial Hospital): 902-533-3702
- New Glasgow (Aberdeen Hospital): 902-752-7600
- Evanston (Strait Richmond Hospital): 902-625-3100
*When a victim or survivor tells (also known as “discloses to”) emergency room personnel that they have been sexually assaulted, a SANE nurse will be called to attend to their needs.
- Antigonish: 902-863-6500
- Guysborough: 902-533-3801
Antigonish Women Centre & Sexual Assault Services: 902-863-6221
Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner Program Manager: 902-863-6221 ext. 226
Lindsay’s Health Centre for Women: 902-318-9984
St. Francis Xavier University Health & Counseling Centre: 902-867-2263
Your Doctor, Nurse Practitioner, or other primary health care provider
What we Do
Our SANE nurses provide the following, as decided upon by you:
- sensitive and thorough medical assessments and forensic exams> (also known as “evidence collection”)
- choices for you> about the forensic exam and reporting to the police
- storage of forensic evidence for up to six months
- expert testimonies in a court of law
- information about sexual assault and violence
- connections to resources in the community
- sexually transmitted infection (STI) testing and preventative treatments
- pregnancy testing
How we Work
Our SANE nurses understand that after experiencing sexual assault, victims and survivors can feel confused, traumatized, and anxious.
Our SANE nurses believe that all victims and survivors can make decisions about the care they need.
Our SANE nurses provide services in a supportive, confidential, and non-judgmental way.
Medical Assessment vs. Forensic Exam
What is a Medical Assessment?
A medical assessment helps victims and survivors of sexual assault take care of their physical needs following the assault. A medical assessment is done only if the victim or survivor gives their consent. The assessment can be stopped at any time.
A medical assessment may include:
- Taking a medical history
- Documenting details of the sexual assault to help identify possible injuries, infections, or treatments required
- Taking urine samples to test for pregnancy
- Testing for sexually transmitted infections (STIs) (Tests occur two weeks after the sexual assault; there may also be further testing at six weeks, three months, six months, and 12 months after the sexual assault.)
- Conducting an internal physical exam may also be done
What is a Forensic Exam?
A forensic exam collects evidence that can be used in a court of law should a victim or survivor choose to report the sexual assault to the police. A forensic exam is done only if the victim or survivor gives their consent. The exam can be stopped at any time.
A forensic exam may include:
Conducting a head-to-toe examination
Taking swabs from different areas of the body
Taking photos of injuries may also be done
What else is important to know about forensic exams?
- Forensic exams should be done within 168 hours (or seven days) of the sexual assault.
- It is preferred, but not required, for the victim or survivor not to shower, bathe, douche, use the washroom, change clothes, eat or drink, or brush teeth, etc. until after the exam is completed. These activities can tamper with the evidence.
- Forensic exams take at least two hours to complete.
- Only our SANE nurses and other emergency room personnel need to be present during the exam. The victim or survivor can invite a support person to be with them as well, like a friend or a sexual assault worker. The police do not need to be present.
Choices about the forensic exam and reporting to the police
Our SANE nurses offer victims and survivors 16 years of age and older the following choices:
1. To have a medical assessment and forensic exam and to report the sexual assault to the police. The forensic evidence will be passed over to the police and the police will talk with the victim or survivor about the assault.
2. To have a medical assessment and forensic exam and to not report the sexual assault to the police. The SANE Program will store the forensic evidence for up to six months or until the victim or survivor decides how they want to proceed.