OPELIKA, AL (WTVM) - Last month, President Obama signed the reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act, expanding protections for victims of domestic abuse and sexual assault.
In our area, the East Alabama Medical Center is now offering a program called SANE, Sexual Assault Nurse Examiners.
"SANE is an international program for nurses to perform sexual assault exams on patients who have been assaulted whether they are male or female," explains Latraysa Carlisle, SANE Program Coordinator.
SANE is a sister program to SART, the Sexual Assault Response Team, that includes members of law enforcement, health care providers and Rape Counselors of East Alabama and Women's Hope Medical Clinic.
Nurses become certified for SANE by undergoing a 40 hours course in class and online and also performing a clinical trial.
With the resigning off this act by the president, the medical center hopes to see more funding for providing this specialized service.
"It is also hopefully going to make more grants available so we can get more funding because we are not a funded program. We receive very little pay for what we do so we are available to patients with or without insurance," says Carlisle.
Nurses involved in SANE are passionate about their work.
One of the nurses currently in training was able to perform a sexual assault exam on a patient prior to the program as a one of the duties of an ER nurse and the result sent the suspect to prison.
"She was able to go to trial with the evidence she collected and the assailant received a conviction because she had the proper evidence collected in the kit," explains Carlisle.