What is a Forensic/SANE Exam?
Forensic/SANE exams can be performed up to 120 hours after the assault. An exam typically takes about three hours. While forensic exams are invasive, they are done to protect you.
The initial part of the exam consists of an interview. The Sex Assault Nurse Examiner (SANE) will ask you to tell about the assault. She will ask you specific questions concerning details of the assault. It is always your choice not to answer any question or questions about the assault, but the more information the SANE can have concerning the assault, the more thorough the examination can be.
The second part of the exam is a physical exam. For females, it is very similar to a well-woman exam. Swabs will be obtained from the pelvic area and a speculum exam is done if indicated, and after consent is obtained. This exam may also consist of swabbing with a cotton applicator any other areas of the body indicated in the interview. An alternative light source may be used to look for saliva or semen on the body to obtain swabs from those areas as well. A thorough exam may also require nail clipping, hair samples, and photographs, all of which are completely confidential. If available, the SANE will ask for clothing worn during or immediately following the assault.
What are my options for reporting related to a SANE Exam?
You have three reporting options when having a SANE Exam.
- Law Enforcement Report: Victim chooses to work with law enforcement at the time of the medical care and evidence collection. Evidence is tested (upon victim consent) and stored by local law enforcement, using the victim’s name.
- Medical Report: Victim chooses not to participate with a law enforcement investigation at the time of medical care and evidence collection. However, the evidence can be tested (upon victim consent) and is stored by local law enforcement, using the victim’s name.
- Anonymous Report: Victim chooses not to participate with a law enforcement investigation at the time of medical care and evidence collection. While the victim can choose to have an “anonymous” conversation with law enforcement, law enforcement receives no identifying information for the victim, unless and until the victim chooses to share that information. The collected evidence will be stored by law enforcement using a unique identifying number, and law enforcement will not receive any victim identifying information. Anonymous reporting victims will not be able to have their evidence tested, unless and until the victim converts to a medical or law enforcement report.
Where do I go and how do I get there?
Mercy Medical Center’s Emergency Department has trained staff available 24/7 to perform the exam. If you need transportation, a Fort Lewis College Police officer will take you there.
What about paying for the exam?
There are funds available in our community to pay for the exam. You can contact Sex Assault Services Organization at (970) 247 5400 for assistance on payment and other advocacy services.