Sexual Assault Nurse Examiners
Expert Care for Victims of Sexual Assault
The Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner (SANE) program at Foothills Hospital
is staffed by nurses with special training in expertly caring for and
collecting evidence from recent victims of sexual assault.
The SANE exam includes a history of the assault that guides medical treatment,
a detailed physical exam with documentation of injuries, and the collection
of legal evidence. Patients are offered medications to prevent communicable
diseases as well as emergency contraception when applicable. Information
regarding community resources and appropriate medical follow-up are also provided.
SANE nurses are on-call 24 hours a day at Foothills Hospital to respond
when a sexual assault victim seeks care. At this time, we serve adult
and adolescent populations.
What is sexual assault?
Sexual assault is unwanted sexual contact. It can include kissing, touching
or forced sexual intercourse of any kind by a stranger, someone you know,
or someone you just met. It can happen at home, school, in a car - anywhere,
anytime. It can be by a stranger, a family member, or an acquaintance.
Who can be sexually assaulted?
Anyone - men, women or children.
What should you do if you have been sexually assaulted?
Remember: It is not your fault.
If you wish to work with police, call 911 immediately.
If you do not wish to work with police but want a medical exam, come to
the Emergency Department at Foothills Hospital at 4747 Arapahoe Avenue,
Boulder, CO for a SANE exam within five days.
It is best if you do not bathe, shower, eat, drink, douche or change clothes.
However, evidence can be collected if you have done any or all of these things.
Tell a trusted friend or relative. Or call advocates, such as Moving to
End Sexual Assault (MESA), Boulder County's rape crisis center, or CU
Boulder's Office of Victim Assistance (OVA) - you are not alone!
When should an exam be done?
Ideally, an exam should be done within 96 hours of the assault. However,
occasionally evidence can be obtained after 96 hours.
It is best to report to the Foothills Hospital Emergency Department if
you have questions related to an exam after a sexual assault.
What will the SANE Staff do during the exam?
- Take a history of the assault for the purposes of diagnosis and treatment.
- Do a complete head to toe examination.
- Perform a detailed genital examination.
- Collect forensic evidence throughout the examination.
- Educate patients regarding sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) and pregnancy
prevention, and provide preventive medications.
- Provide resources for follow-up care and counseling.
- Maintain legal chain of custody for evidence.
- Provide expert witness testimony in court when necessary.
What happens to the evidence?
The evidence is turned over to the law enforcement agency where the sexual
What if you don't want to report the sexual assault?
Colorado law requires health care providers to report any injury that occurs
due to a criminal act. Therefore, the SANE must notify the appropriate
law enforcement agency. Police typically will not pursue a case unless
the victim agrees to work with them. Having a case number allows evidence
to be stored in case the victim decides to pursue charges at a later date.
Who pays for the exam?
If law enforcement is involved and the victim is cooperating with the case,
the law enforcement agency pays for the evidence collection.
If the victim does not want to proceed with law enforcement involvement,
the Colorado Division of Criminal Justice pays for the evidence collection.
This agency may also help with all or some of the costs of any medical
care related to the assault.
All expenses not related to evidence collection - which may include preventive
medications, follow up, emergency care related to the assault, and emergency
department charges - are the responsibility of the victim.
A victims’ compensation fund may be available to assist with these
costs if law enforcement is involved with the case.
Other Important Contacts
Moving to End Sexual Assault (MESA), Boulder County's rape crisis center,
24-hour hotline 303-443-7300.
CU Boulder's Office of Victim Assistance (OVA), Confidential Assistance,
support, counseling. M-F 8 a.m. - 5 p.m., 303-492-8855, after hours press 2.