Health care workers in South Dakota are training to better serve survivors of sexual assault. Registered nurses that complete the program are identified as SANEs, an acronym for Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner.
Kristi Kranz heads the SANE program through the Center for the Prevention of Child Maltreatment. She says these individuals play an important role in working with someone who’s experienced a traumatic event.
“Both on the medical side, to ensure that they’re receiving the best medical care, and then also on the forensic side, to collect the potential evidence if the victim wants to move forward with reporting that to law enforcement.”
One of the new elements of the program involves telehealth exams in rural emergency rooms.
Jen Canton of Avera Health says prior to these options, survivors were often sent two to three hours to larger places, like Sioux Falls or Rapid City. Having immediate, specialized care closer to home helps prevent setbacks in an assault survivor’s attempt to confront the situation.
“It kind of sets the pathway for their healing. So, if they have a bad experience in the ER, it can negatively affect their healing. If they have a positive one, it sets them on a positive road to healing.”
Canton says being ready this time of year is crucial, because assault and domestic violence cases may increase during the holidays.
Leaders behind South Dakota’s broader SANE program say it is renewed for another year of funding in hopes of training more nurses.