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J Emerg Nurs. 2003 Dec;29(6):511-4.

Sexual assault evidence collection more accurate when completed by sexual assault nurse examiners: Colorado's experience.

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Colorado Coalition Against Sexual Assault, Denver, USA.



The purpose of this study was to determine if sexual assault nurse examiners (SANEs) provide more effective evidence collection compared with non-SANE-trained nurse and physician colleagues.


Five hundred fifteen audits were completed by crime laboratory analysts on sexual assault evidence kits submitted to the Colorado Bureau of Investigation from October 1999 to April 2002.


Of 515 evidence kits audited, 279 were completed by SANEs. Non-SANE physicians and nurses completed 236 kits. Evidence kits collected by SANEs were more likely to have a completed chain of custody (92%) compared with 81% of non-SANE-collected kits. SANEs also were more likely to have properly sealed individual specimen envelopes (91% vs 75%), to have labeled the individual specimen envelopes (95% vs 88%), and to have collected the appropriate amount of pubic hair (88% vs 74%) and head hair (95% vs 80%). SANEs more frequently included the appropriate number of blood tubes (95% vs 80%), collected the appropriate amount of swabs (88% vs 71%), and included a vaginal fluid slide for sperm motility (87% vs 72%). Both groups prepared slides at a high rate for each penetrated orifice (87% vs 90%) and both had a high rate of including the crime laboratory report in the completed kit (97% vs 93%).


Studies such as this provide documentation that evidence collection kits prepared by SANEs are more accurate and complete when compared with evidence collection kits prepared by non-SANE nurses and physicians. Additional studies are needed to further validate the efficacy of SANE-completed evidentiary examinations.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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