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J Interpers Violence. 2011 Dec;26(18):3618-39. doi: 10.1177/0886260511403761. Epub 2011 May 20.

Adult sexual assault survivors' experiences with sexual assault nurse examiners (SANEs).

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  • 1Department of Psychology, Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI 48824, USA. cabralgi@msu.edu

Abstract

Sexual assault survivors often feel traumatized by the care received in traditional hospital emergency departments. To address these problems, Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner (SANE) programs were created to provide comprehensive medical care, crisis intervention, and forensic services. However, there is limited research on the actual experiences and emotional impact of sexual assault survivors who seek treatment from SANEs. This qualitative study examined twenty rape survivors' experiences with forensic nurse examiners of a Midwestern SANE program. Findings suggest that SANEs provided survivors with care and compassion, clear explanations, and choices. Taken together, these positive experiences were perceived as "humanizing". However, some survivors perceived forensic nurses as hurtful when they were not provided with choices, explanation, and/or acted cold and distant. Implications for future research on SANE care and practice are discussed.

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