The importance of sexual assault nurse examiners and the difficulty of locating them in North Carolina

Illustration by Mariano Santillan / Carolina Public Press

Sexual assault nurse examiners receive specialized training and certification to provide emergency medical attention and gather forensic evidence following sexual assaults. Many hospitals in North Carolina have SANE nurses, but it’s not required, and no one is keeping track. A Carolina Public Press investigation found that many hospitals, especially outside major cities, do not have SANE nurses or are forced to share them with other facilities across a wide area. Many hospitals, including several major chains, refused to disclose details to the public.  It’s a frustrating problem for survivors seeking emergency care and wondering where to turn. Lack of access to SANE nurses can undermine the timely and expert gathering of evidence to build a case for prosecution. Other models for connecting survivors with these medical professionals exist and are being tried in some North Carolina counties. Some states have also taken a more proactive approach that may lead to better outcomes, both for survivors’ health and the criminal justice system.

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Part 2 of 2

Resources on SANE nurses in North Carolina

Carolina Public Press Special Event

Previous reporting on sexual assaults and SANE nurses in North Carolina

Newsmakers: NC laws one challenge to convicting sexual assault crimes

Watch a Carolina Public Press Newsmakers forum on issues surrounding convicting sexual assault crimes in North Carolina. On Monday, April 29, legislation proposed by a lawmaker, and panelist at this forum, to close several loopholes in the state’s sexual assault laws received unanimous approval from legislators in the state House.