Editor’s Note: A previous version of this article that was published in the Nov. 28 issue was retracted online due to inaccuracies. The retracted article erroneously stated that Emory University Student Health Services (EUSHS) plans to offer rape kits. The story was assigned to a new reporter and re-written.
One nurse who works at Emory University Student Health Services (EUSHS) is undergoing training to become a sexual assault nurse examiner (SANE), according to EUSHS Executive Director Sharon Rabinovitz.
A SANE is a registered nurse with training to provide care for sexual assault victims, conduct a forensic exam and provide expert testimony if the patient decides to bring the case to trial, according to the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network. Emory University Hospitals and EUSHS don’t currently offer SANE programs.
For now, EUSHS will not offer a full SANE program, which would require 24/7 service operated by multiple SANE-certified nurses, Rabinovitz said. She added that EUSHS currently “does not have the forensic [capacity]” that a full SANE program has and would not recommend students to go to EUSHS if they want to obtain forensic evidence. Emory’s Respect Program, which offers interpersonal violence prevention and survivor services, recommends students obtain rape kits from the DeKalb County Family Protection Center in Tucker, Ga., a more than seven-mile drive from Emory’s Atlanta campus.
“The SANE program itself is designed to collect criminal evidence for use in criminal prosecution potentially and does include a number of components in addition to the medical examination,” said Phyllis Miller, executive director of the Day League, which started offering a SANE program at the Family Protection Center in May 2018.
Rabinovitz said a SANE-trained nurse at EUSHS will be better equipped to treat a patient who experienced sexual assault.
“[In the future,] if somebody came into our office and was a victim of sexual assault, the nurse would be the person to do the exam,” Rabinovitz said. “But we can’t have one person covering student health every night. It’s not something one person can manage. In the moment during the day, that would be the person we would turn to.”
The nurse currently undergoing training will not be certified until May at the earliest, Rabinovitz said.
“We hired her in August, and she was actually already undergoing [SANE] training, so that was one of the added benefits of hiring her in particular,” Rabinovitz said.
Rabinovitz emphasized that EUSHS is in the initial stages of exploring ways to offer “enhanced sexual assault services” on campus, and that she has not yet spoken with Emory Police Department (EPD) or the Office of Respect about forensic evidence collection.
Sexual Assault Peer Advocates (SAPA) co-President Monjori Mukerjee (19C) believes Emory University Hospital (EUH) should offer SANE services.
“It would be nice to have SANE-trained nurses as part of the main hospital and hopefully we can work together on that,” Mukerjee said.
Reports of rape on Emory’s main campus increased to nine in 2017 from six in 2016 and four in 2015, according to the annual Clery report.
Miller highlighted the Day League’s commitment to only using SANE-certified nurses. SANE nurses can become certified by the International Association of Forensic Nurses (IAFN) after they meet clinical practice requirements and pass a certification exam by the IAFN, according to the IAFN website.
Miller said maintaining a SANE program in Georgia is difficult because of a shortage of nurses across the state.
“This is an issue all over the state of Georgia in light of the nursing shortage in our state,” Miller wrote in an Oct. 15 email to the Wheel.