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Alaska Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner Study

NCJ Number
Date Published
October 2008
128 pages
This study identified the characteristics of sexual assault victimizations in Alaska, as recorded by sexual assault nurse examiners (SANEs) in eight cities, with attention to the key factors that impacted victims' genital injury and case legal resolutions.
Contrary to researchers' expectation, the study found that patient condition at the time of the assault (i.e., sober, intoxicated, or incapacitated) did not impact the presence or frequency of the patient's genital injury. Also contrary to researchers' expectation, time elapsed from the assault to the SANE examination did not impact the presence or frequency of genital injury. Nine factors were associated with the presence of genital injury: whether the case was reported prior to 2003, when changes to the SANE program occurred; whether the patient engaged in consensual sexual activity within 96 hours of the assault; whether the assault included vaginal penetration; whether ejaculation occurred during the assault; whether the examination included an anoscope exam; whether an alternative light source was used; whether the patient required a genital followup exam; whether the patient also had congenital injuries; and whether the patient was expressive at any time during the interview/examination process. In addition, neither the presence nor frequency of genital injury influenced any of the legal resolutions. Although the documentation of genital injury did not significantly impact legal resolutions, other types of injuries did impact case legal outcomes. The report advises, however, that the successful legal resolution of a rape case is not the key goal of the SANEs work. The goal of SANEs is to provide competent and compassionate nursing care that promotes healing of the patient's physical, psychological, social, and spiritual health. The study included all sexual assault nurse examinations in the cities over a period from 1996 to 2004 (n=1,699). 80 tables, 6 figures, 51 references, and appended data collection instrument

Date Published: October 1, 2008