Ascension St. Clare’s Sexual Assault Nurse Examiners Recognized for Support of Abuse Victims
The Women’s Community in Wausau has named the Ascension St. Clare’s Hospital Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner (SANE) program as one of three recipients of its 2019 Award for Outstanding Achievement in Supporting Sexual Assault Victims.
The Award was presented on Tuesday, April 16, during a special recognition ceremony held by The Women’s Community during Sexual Assault Awareness Month.
Operating out of Ascension Saint Clare’s Emergency Department, SANE nurses are registered nurses who have advanced education and clinical preparation to help meet the needs of abuse victims. By providing immediate, compassionate, culturally sensitive and comprehensive forensic evaluation and treatment, they are trained to collect and maintain the chain of evidence, provide emotional support and arrange any follow-up support that may be needed.
“The SANE nurses at Ascension St. Clare’s work tirelessly to support victims of abuse in our community,” said Jessica Lind, Sexual Assault Victim Services Program Coordinator at the Women’s Community. “They also are community leaders in efforts to educate, develop protocols and hold defendants accountable through precise collection of evidence and court testimony.”
Ascension St. Clare’s has had its SANE program in place since the Hospital opened in 2005. Today, it operates with six nurses who provide 24/7 coverage with advanced training in pediatric cases and those involving suspected strangulation.
In 2018, Ascension St. Clare’s SANE nurses completed 115 exams with suspected victims of abuse. That represents an increase of 34 cases from 2017. “We are tremendously proud of our SANE program as everyone involved with this effort excel in providing highly specialized clinical care in concert with the care and compassion needed under difficult circumstances,” said Peter Stamas, Jr., MD, Vice President of Medical Affairs and Chief Administrative Officer at Ascension St. Clare’s.
Sexual assault is widely accepted to be vastly underreported as it is estimated that less than 40% of victims report their crime to police. This makes collecting accurate data about sexual assault challenging.
The Foundation of Ascension St. Clare’s provides vital support for the SANE program which requires extensive training and education resources each year.