New program navigates the medical and legal needs of sexual assault victims

STTI launches online Sexual Assault Forensic Examiner Program

INDIANAPOLIS – According to the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network (RAINN), every 109 seconds, someone in the United States is sexually assaulted. 

Sexual assault victims frequently seek care in hospital emergency rooms and clinics each year. To meet the needs of these patients, specially trained nurse or forensic examiners with Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner (SANE) or Sexual Assault Forensic Examiner (SAFE) certification can provide expert healthcare services and forensic care. 

In an effort to provide affordable and comprehensive education to nurses seeking this certification, the Honor Society of Nursing, Sigma Theta Tau International (STTI) has developed and released for sale, the Sexual Assault Forensic Examiner Program (SAFE) in collaboration with the Indiana ENA Forensic Committee.

The course, through the use of pre- and post-assessments, 14 modules, and presentations from subject matter experts across the country, helps prospective SAFEs/SANEs meet the medico-legal needs of individuals who experience sexual violence. The modules cover topics such as patient history taking, specimen collection, forensic evaluation photography, sexually transmitted infection testing and legal considerations and judicial proceedings.

“Sigma Theta Tau International is dedicated to making sure nurses are equipped to offer the highest level of care in every situation in our modern world. The Sexual Assault Forensic Examiner Program helps nurses to be prepared to care appropriately for victims of sexual assault,” says STTI’s Director of Educational Resources Matthew Howard, MSN, RN, CEN, CPEN, CPN.

The program is directed by Barbra Bachmeier, JD, MSN, RN, NP-C, a 33-year nursing veteran who works as a Certified Family Nurse Practitioner and maintains a clinical practice as a provider in emergency medicine with a sub-specialty in forensics. Bachmeier also received her Doctorate of Jurisprudence in 2007.  

The SAFE Program curriculum was designed by Dr. Patricia Speck, DNSc, APN, FNP-BC, DF-IAFN, FAAFS, FAAN, and Diana Faugno , MSN, RN, CPN, SANE-A, SANE-P, FAAFS, DF-IAFN.

Speck is a Professor at the University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Nursing, as well as a Board-Certified Family Nurse Practitioner and SANE. As part of her public health nursing practice, Speck is a researcher with over 50 peer-reviewed articles and currently coordinates the graduate Advanced Forensic Nursing specialty at UAB School of Nursing.

Faugno is a founding director of End Violence Against Women International (EVAWI) and currently serves on the board as treasurer. She is a board member of the California chapter of the American Professional Society on the Abuse of Children, a fellow in the American Academy of Forensic Science and a distinguished fellow in the International Association of Forensic Nurses. 

The course is available through STTI’s website and counts toward 43.8 CNE contact hours. The course must be completed in 12 weeks and can be purchased for $375 at