Tuesday, April 8, 2014
DALLAS – Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott today met with Dallas medical professionals and sexual assault victim advocates at the W.W. Caruth, Jr. Center for Sexual Assault Forensic Exam Healing to discuss the Center’s ongoing efforts to help victims of sexual assault.
Established in 2010, the W.W. Caruth, Jr. Center for SAFE Healing provides comprehensive medical treatment for sexual assault victims. The Center’s Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner (SANE) program trains registered nurses to conduct a sexual assault medical forensic examination and testify in court on those forensic exams as needed. Registered nurses who complete the Center’s training program may apply for SANE certification from the Office of the Attorney General’s SANE program. A U.S. Department of Justice report showed a 95 percent increase in successful prosecution of cases where evidence was collected by a SANE-certified nurse.
After touring the W.W. Caruth, Jr. Center for SAFE Healing, Attorney General Abbott met with local SANE health care professionals and Dr. Britt Berrett, president of Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Dallas, and issued the following statement:
“Victims of sexual assault deserve compassionate support. They also deserve justice. Our work with the SANE program achieves both. Accurate forensic evidence collection by certified Sexual Assault Nurse Examiners helps ensure that more sexual offenders in Texas are incarcerated and safely prevented from harming new victims. The continued partnership between Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Dallas and the Office of the Attorney General has improved the care of sexual assault patients and helped in the collection of medical forensic evidence and prosecution of sexual predators.”
Attorney General Abbott added: “Thanks to the work of Texas Health Dallas’s SANE supervisor Renee Donald as well as the collaborative efforts of the W.W. Caruth, Jr. Center for SAFE Healing, the Office of the Attorney General’s Crime Victim Services Division, and community-based sexual assault advocacy programs, survivors of sexual assault crimes are receiving – and will continue to receive – the quality care and assistance they deserve.”
Office of the Attorney General’s SANE program
The OAG’s SANE program both trains and certifies registered nurses to conduct sexual assault medical forensic exams on patients who present with a complaint of sexual assault. To become an OAG-certified SANE, a registered nurse must complete a rigorous comprehensive training program that includes classroom instruction, clinical participation and courtroom observation. Since 2002, the OAG’s SANE program coordinator has conducted 118 SANE trainings at hospitals and medical facilities across the State for 1,429 registered nurses. Last week, Texas Health Dallas hosted the first week of an OAG SANE training course at the Center for more than 30 nurses and will host the second half of the training course next month.
In addition to certifying SANEs, the Office of the Attorney General administers several victim assistance grant programs using monies from the Crime Victims’ Compensation Fund. Since 2002, the CVC Fund has awarded Dallas-area sexual assault programs more than $1.2 million in grant funding.