A forensic nurse is a nurse with specialized training in criminal procedures, the legal system, forensic evidence collection, providing medical testimony in court, and providing consultation to law enforcement. Sexual Assault Nurse Examiners (SANE) are registered nurses who have a specialized education and clinical preparation in forensic examination of sexual assault or abuse victims.
Reports and Publications
April 2016 U.S. Department of Justice protocol for medical forensic examinations of children. See requirements for documentation and photography.
For the interview portion of the investigation, attorneys should be aware of the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD) Investigative Interview Protocol.
U.S. Department of Justice protocol focusing on the immediate response of medical and other professionals in reference to medical treatment and evidence gathering from sexual assault or abuse victims. It addresses the role of advocates, law enforcement, prosecutors, and other responders in the medical forensic exam process.
2006 DOJ manual sets out standards for the specialized education of sexual assault forensic examiners.
From the Blog
- IDS is pleased to announce a new program to support attorneys assigned to handle serious sex offense cases. Starting June 1, 2021, attorneys representing clients charged with felony sex offenses may seek consultation on those cases with Susan Seahorn or Lisa Dubs. We recognize that these cases are challenging and complex and hope that the …
- In 2018, the NC General Assembly passed legislation (S.L. 2018-70) requiring the creation of the a statewide tracking system to track the testing of Sexual Assault Evidence Collection Kits (SAECKs) from collection to completion of forensic testing. The tracking system is now available for all stakeholders in the criminal justice system.
- Sexual Assault Kit Tracking Now Available, 11/16/2018In 2018, the NC General Assembly passed legislation (S.L. 2018-70) requiring the creation of the a statewide tracking system to track the testing of Sexual Assault Evidence Collection Kits (SAECKs) from collection to completion of forensic testing. The tracking system is now available for all stakeholders in the criminal justice system.
- Center for Nursing Excellence International Releases Multidisciplinary Sexual Assault Glossary, 11/14/2016It can be frustrating when a term means something to one discipline yet has a different definition when used in another discipline. Thus, together with the Forensic Technology Center of Excellence (FTCoE), the Center for Nursing Excellence International (CFNEI) has released a glossary of terms used in sexual assault cases. The Multidiscipline Sexual Assault Glossary …
- For attorneys with questions about the appropriate procedures for conducting a sexual assault examination or a medical forensic examination, there is a new resource available here. The page includes links to national protocols and standards of practice that have been developed by the Department of Justice and other professional organizations. Attorneys can access training on …
- Julie Valentine et al. in Journal of Forensic Nursing (2021)
- Webinar: Bodily Injury, Godoy Medical ForensicsFree to attend live webinar
- Webinar: Blunt Force Trauma, Godoy Medical ForensicsFree to attend live webinar
Registration is available here. The webinar is free to attend. For those requesting CLE credit, there is a $10 fee. For NAPD members, a recorded version may be available in their webinar archive.
Description: This webinar offers definitions, examples, and explanations of various types of injuries, including the dating of bruises. Pressure ulcer prevention, assessment, and staging will also be discussed. The objective of this presentation is to educate attorneys and investigators on what specific factors cause the kinds injuries associated with blunt force trauma and the potential indications of those injuries.
Speaker: This webinar will be presented by Certified Forensic Nurse, Tara Godoy. She has assisted both prosecution and defense attorneys through consultation and expert testimony and spoken at conferences for the NACDL and the NDIA. Her primary areas of expertise are Strangulation and Blunt Force Trauma. She is also the owner of Godoy Medical Forensics, which has consulted on over 1000 cases nationwide since 2009.
- Offered by Godoy Medical Forensics, Speaker: Tara Godoy
This Forensic Technology Center of Excellence webinar will cover alternate light, its characteristics, and its behavior in response to potential bruises. The program will summarize the available research, including a recently completed study, on the effectiveness of alternate light as a tool for improving bruise detection. Participants will learn to recognize considerations for the clinical application of alternate light, particularly in the areas of forensic photography and medico-legal interpretation.
Attorneys may be interested in viewing this webinar to learn more about forensic nursing standards of practice, qualifications, educational curricula, and certifications.
The purpose of this one day seminar is to provide attorneys with information to assist with interpreting forensic medical records and subsequent testimony of the SANE/Forensic Nurses in sexual assault litigation. Bonnie Price, DNP, RN, SANE-A, SANE-P, AFN-B is the Administrative Director of the of Community Health Advocacy for Bon Secours Richmond. Mrs. Price has lectured extensively on forensic nursing topics and is certified as a Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner in both adults, adolescents and pediatrics. She will cover the following topics:
- Basic anal/genital anatomy
- Understanding the components of a sexual assault forensic evaluation
- Sexual assault injuries: What they mean & what they don’t mean
- Understanding and locating forensic medical reports
- SANE/Forensic Nurse qualifications: What do all of the letters really mean?
- How do I ensure the testimony being provided by a SANE/Forensic Nurse is valid & evidence based?
- SANE/Forensic Nurse testimony: Asking the right questions
Provides definitions for acronyms, abbreviations, and medical terminology related to forensic nursing.
Searches over 200,000 acronyms and abbreviations and provides definitions of thousands of medical terms from Stedman’s Medical Dictionary.
Contains links to NC specific policies, procedures, and standards of practice, including information on SANE programs.
Develops, promotes, and disseminates information internationally about forensic nursing science. Includes information about live and online training opportunities.
Comprehensive website that contains resources related to sexual assault medical forensic examinations including sample forms, training materials, free recorded webinars, and resources for attorneys.
- National Protocol: Especially for Attorneys and Officers of the Court – provides information about admissibility of medical testimony, including hearsay exceptions and confrontation clause issues.
- Recent Court Cases – summaries of several cases impacting the admissibility of expert testimony and cases related to admissibility of SANE testimony.
Forensic Technology Center of Excellence (FTCoE) and the Center for Nursing Excellence International (CFNEI) has released a glossary of terms used in sexual assault cases. The glossary will be continuously updated and should aid in ensuring clear communications with experts and jurors.
This document contains a one-page description of the kit that is used to collect evidence in NC sexual assualt cases followed by a scan of each item, form and instruction sheet contained in the kit. Counsel can use this document to become informed about the types of evidence collected and the correct protocols for collecting, packaging and storing each item.
Forensic/Sexual Assault Exams in the News
- How Rape Affects Memory And The Brain, And Why More Police Need To Know About This, by Sammy Caiola, NPR, 8/22/2021
- Forensic Science Organization to Draft Standards for Sexual Assault Examinations, NIST, 7/21/2021
- A decades-old rape test sent him to prison. Then his high school girlfriend saw an old photograph., by Antonia Noori Farzan, Washington Post, 7/24/2019
- Durham had 1,700 untested rape kits. Now it’s clearing them faster than almost any city., by Will Doran, Herald Sun, 5/23/2019
- Junk science leads to father’s wrongful arrest, 0 accusation of raping his son, by Radley Balko, The Washington Post, 3/8/2018
- Santa Clara County: Doubts about forensic test could undermine dozens of sex cases (CA), by Tracey Kaplan, The Mercury News, 12/3/2016