Sexual Assault Awareness Information

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TENESSEE VALLEY (WHNT) – April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month, and to combat sexual assault, Crisis Services of North Alabama has several help lines available.

For immediate help, dial 911 to report a sexual assault, or call HELPLine (256-716-1000) to reach the Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner, or SANE.

Services provided by the SANE program include: Comprehensive medical legal examination with collection of forensic evidence to all *acute victims of sexual assault. Follow-up examinations to further document and evaluate injuries received during the assault. Access to a SANE at all times to answer health-related questions pertaining to a sexual assault.

*Acute is defined as up to 72 hours after the sexual assault, unless an exam is requested by the investigating officer.

SART The Sexual Assault Response Team (SART) program is a multi-disciplinary investigative team composed of a Forensic Nurse Examiner (SANE), Law Enforcement Investigator, and Rape Crisis Advocate. The multi-disciplinary approach consists of teamwork dedicated to delivering justice to all victims of sexual assault.

SART/SANE programs were first developed in the 1970s to eliminate repetitive and unnecessary questioning and delays in the treatment of sexual assault victims in local emergency departments. Often the victim would endure long waits and interrupted examinations when emergency room doctors and nurses were called away to treat people who arrived with more critical injuries. And since doctors and nurses are trained to keep people alive rather than gather information for criminal proceedings, important medical evidence was often unavailable to prosecutors trying to put rapists in jail.

The SART/SANE programs were developed to Increase sensitivity and specialization in care of sexual assault victims, improve quality of forensic evidence collection, location of examination. The SANE Program is available to provide examinations for victims of sexual assault who have been seriously injured or who have minimal injuries.

For those who have serious injuries and require medical care by a physician, a sexual assault exam will be provided by a SANE at any hospital facility in Madison and Jackson County. For those who have minimal injuries and for all follow-up examinations, a private confidential exam room is provided at CSNA in Madison and Jackson County. Directions will be provided by your local law enforcement agency, or by calling HELPLine.

The Alabama Crime Victims Compensation Fund will pay for the rape kit examination. If the exam is done at the hospital, the bill will be submitted for third party reimbursement via health insurance, Medicare, or Medicaid. In this case, unpaid portions will be submitted to the Alabama Crime Victims Compensation Fund. The SART/SANE Program Medical Director maintains quality of care for each client and provides examination standing orders.

For information regarding the SART/SANE program, contact: SANE Program Manager 256-716-4052

How to Obtain Help: In Madison or Limestone County: (256)-716-1000; In Jackson County: 1-800-691-8426

If you or someone close to you is raped, sexually assaulted, stalked, or experiencing sexual harassment, the HELPline Rape Response program offers support, information, assistance in seeking victims compensation, and a place to express the hurt, fear, and betrayal that sexual abuse causes to the victim.

For more information, visit Crisis Services of North Alabama’s website at

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