Regions Hospital Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner Program

Support for victims and survivors of sexual violence

It may be difficult to know what to do or who can help after sexual assault or exploitation. At Regions Hospital, we can help. Our Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner (SANE) Program is a team of specially trained nurses who support people who have experienced sexual violence. Our SANEs provide trauma-informed, victim-centered care, and we can help with forensic evidence collection.

What is sexual assault?

A sexual assault is any unwanted physical contact of a sexual nature that occurs either:

  • Without permission of both people, or
  • With one person threatening or forcing the other person

Sexual assault can:

  • Be forced on you
  • Be against your wishes
  • Happen when you are unable to give permission, for example if you have been drinking alcohol or using drugs
  • Happen to people of all genders and ages

Was I raped?

Sometimes a person may not remember what happened to them, but is worried they may have been raped or sexually assaulted. Regions Hospital Emergency Center can offer you a sexual assault exam and evidence collection if you believe something happened sexually that you did not agree to.

What is a sexual assault exam and should I have one?

You should have a sexual assault exam if you believe something happened sexually that you did not agree to. During the exam, you will receive care for both the physical and emotional trauma that happen with a sexual assault. Evidence is collected which may be used by the legal system to investigate and charge someone with the sexual assault.

How soon after a sexual assault should I have an exam?

Some of the evidence from a sexual assault can start to disappear in just hours. Coming to Regions Hospital Emergency Center as soon as possible is best for your care and to collect evidence. However, the exam can take place up to ten days after the assault occurred. Sexual Assault Nurse Examiners are available 24/7.

How do I get a sexual assault exam?

Come to Regions Hospital Emergency Center 24/7. If you are severely injured or in danger, call 911.

What should I do or not do before the sexual assault exam?

Try not to wash any evidence away. If possible,

  • Don’t take a bath or shower
  • Don’t eat or drink if there was oral contact
  • Keep on or bring in the clothing you had on at the time of the assault and/or immediately after the assault.

What will happen when I arrive at the Emergency Center?

Nursing and medical staff will make sure you are stable for and want a sexual assault exam.

If you would like an exam, the Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner will discuss the assault with you and perform a detailed examination, including:

  • Looking for injuries
  • Documenting the injuries in writing and with photographs
  • Assessing if you need medications to prevent pregnancy, sexually transmitted infections and HIV.
  • Giving you detailed instructions about how to take care of yourself once you leave the Emergency Center.

We will call an advocate from Ramsey County SOS Sexual Violence Services. The advocate is a person who comes to the Emergency Center to be with you and provide support to you during this difficult time.

How much does it cost to have a sexual assault exam?

The cost of the exam is paid for by the state of Minnesota. If additional medical care beyond the exam is needed, the patient or their insurance will be billed for that.

Can family members be with me?

The discussion about your assault will be very detailed and sensitive. To make sure you can speak freely, loved ones will not be allowed in the room during the discussion. However, they may be with you at any other time if you want them there.