Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner (SANE)


What is a SANE?

A Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner (SANE) is a registered nurse who has been specifically trained to provide comprehensive care to sexual violence victims. The SANE is trained to identify physical trauma, document injuries, collect evidence and maintain the chain of custody, and provide necessary referrals. To become a SANE, a registered nurse must successfully complete a 40 hour training. An additional 25 hours of supervised clinical experience are also required.


SANEs are trained in both the physical and emotional aspects of caring for victims of sexual assault. SANEs collaborate with advocates from the local rape crisis centers who are available to provide resources and support to victims.


The SANE becomes an integral part of the multidisciplinary team and should be knowledgeable in the nursing process, forensic sample collection, victims’ needs and legal responsibilities.


Where they exist, SANE programs have made a profound difference in the quality of care provided to sexual assault victims. SANE programs are enhancing evidence collection for more effective investigations and better prosecutions. Particularly in non-stranger sexual assault cases, thorough documentation of evidence corroborating a victim's account of an assault by establishing lack of consent has led to more successful prosecutions.



What does a SANE do?

With the advent of SANE programs, it became possible for sexual assault victims to consistently receive prompt and compassionate emergency care from medical professionals who understand victimization issues.


A SANE can enhance the evidentiary examination process by reducing the time victims have to wait in a hospital's emergency department and the time it takes to complete the examination. The quality of the examination is usually improved because an experienced SANE is adept at identifying physical trauma and psychological needs, ensuring that victims receive appropriate medical care, knowing what evidence to look for and how to document injuries and other forensic evidence, and providing necessary referrals.



Why is a SANE important to any community?

A SANE program can be tailored to the needs of any locality or region to provide a victim-sensitive solution to systemic gaps in the medical-legal response to sexual assault victims. FRIS has made a commitment to offer information and technical assistance to individuals and institutions interested in developing SANE programs.



What is required to become a SANE?

The SANE training is designed to provide a comprehensive education program in the complete assessment, evaluation and treatment of the adult and adolescent sexual assault survivor.


Required SANE Training Coursework

To be eligible to practice as a SANE, it is recommended that a nurse have at least two (2) years of nursing experience and hold a current West Virginia nursing license.


The 40-hour SANE training coursework combines online and classroom educational training.


  • 24 Hours of Online Training - To better accommodate busy schedules, 24 hours of the training is available for free online. It is a self-paced course comprised of twenty-three units. The entire online portion of the course takes approximately 24 hours to complete. All 24 hours of the online coursework must be completed before beginning the second phase of coursework, which is the 16 hour (2 day) training practicum.
  • 16 Hour Classroom Training - The 16 hour (2 day) training is a requirement for all nurses wishing to practice as a SANE. There is a registration cost for this part of the training. The training will be offered several times a year regionally in West Virginia and must have at least 16 nurses registered.

Nurses will receive 40 contact hours of continuing education for completion of the online coursework and the classroom training.



Completion of Clinical Requirements

Demonstration of clinical competence is an essential part of the training. The SANE must have a period of clinical practice with a qualified preceptor to adequately develop and demonstrate the competencies and skills required of SANEs.


The clinical requirement involves 25 hours of clinical based work following the initial 40 hours of the SANE coursework. It is recommended that these requirements be completed within a six (6) month time period, but they must be completed within the year following the SANE training.


The following are requirements for practicing as a SANE in West Virginia:


  • Must have successfully completed the 40 hour SANE training course for adults/adolescents that follow the guidelines of the International Association of Forensic Nursing (IAFN).
  • Must hold a current unrestricted license as an RN in West Virginia.
  • Have at least two (2) years of nursing or clinical experience (recommended).
  • Work with a preceptor (physician, physician assistant and advanced practice nurse or SANE-A) who has had the training and skill to help the nurse complete the clinical requirements of the SANE coursework.
  • Complete the clinical competency requirement within the year following the completion date of the 40 hour coursework. (See the informational sheet - Clinical Requirements for Adult SANE Coursework).
  • Submit documentation of completion of the clinical requirements (PART 2) of the adult SANE training course to the West Virginia SANE Project Coordinator in order to receive a certificate of completion of the adult SANE training.



To practice as a SANE in West Virginia, the following documentation must be submitted to the West Virginia SANE Project Coordinator:


  • Completed WV SANE application
  • Copy of the certificate of completion for the online portion of the adult SANE training (PART 1)
  • Copy of the certificate of completion for the classroom (2 day) training of the adult SANE training (PART 2)
  • Completed clinical logs with preceptor’s signature
  • Copy of current licensure
  • Professional resume



How do you register for the Online SANE Training (24 hours) for Adult/Adolescents?

To register for the Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner (SANE) Online Training for Adults and Adolescents, go to Create a username and password as directed in the “Account Setup” process for SASTA. Follow the instructions to access the SANE coursework. Registration to the SANE course will be finished after the “SANE Survey” has been completed and submitted. You will receive an email to activate your SASTA account. Once completed, you will receive a second email within 48 hours confirming your registration and access to the SANE training.



What if the SANE training was taken in another state?

If a nurse has completed the SANE training in another state, the West Virginia SANE Project Coordinator would need to determine that the coursework the SANE received meets the IAFN guidelines.


Documentation of completion of both the didactic and the clinical requirements for the SANE coursework are required.


After completing a training program specific to West Virginia laws pertaining to sexual assault and sexual abuse, and having knowledge of what is required by the West Virginia State Police Forensic Laboratory in the collection of forensic samples in sexual assault cases, an application to practice as a SANE in West Virginia can be made.



Who can work with SANEs to complete the clinical requirements following the didactic portion of the Online SANE Training for Adults and Adolescents?

The clinical preceptor must be a licensed health care professional or certified SANE-A who has expertise in the examination of adolescents and adults who are victims of sexual assault.


A preceptor (SANE-A, NP, PA or MD) must agree to:


  1. 1. Work with the SANE to complete the additional 25 hour clinical requirement.
  2. 2. Track and document hours of observation and practice.
  3. 3. Sign and complete the necessary documentation ONLY when competencies are met and all hours are completed.
  4. 4. Send the completed signed documentation to the WV SANE Project Coordinator:
    1. WV SANE Project Coordinator
    2. WV FRIS
    3. 112 Braddock Street
    4. Fairmont, WV 26554


The completed and signed documentation will be needed by the SANE


  • when applying to take the SANE certification exam and
  • when applying to practice as a SANE in West Virginia.

The documentation may also be required by hospital administration when a SANE is hired to provide SANE services.


The hospital has some responsibility to help provide opportunities for the SANE to complete the clinical requirement by putting a system in place to document how the clinical competencies were demonstrated and to provide support for helping the SANE obtain those skills and competencies.



Can a SANE perform pediatric exams?

In West Virginia, to be able to conduct pediatric exams, the SANE must have at least six (6) months of experience doing adult/adolescent SANE exams, complete a 40 hour didactic pediatric SANE training and complete the required clinical component for pediatrics.



Is certification required to practice as a SANE?

Certification as a Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner-Adult/Adolescent (SANE-A) is not a requirement to be able to practice as a SANE. It demonstrates to nurse colleagues, clients, employers, and others in the medical-legal system that a SANE has successfully passed the certification examination and is knowledgeable of, experienced in, and committed to the SANE specialty practice. Individuals who earn the SANE-A credential obtain objective validation of their expertise.


The first step in the certification process is completing the SANE training coursework and clinical requirement expectations. (Please see the IAFN website at for additional details on the certification process and cost of the certification exam.)



How are hospitals in West Virginia reimbursed for the cost of the Forensic Medical Examination?

Statutory provisions created by the West Virginia Legislature provide a $350.00 reimbursement to hospitals for the forensic part of the forensic medical examination.


In West Virginia, each hospital is responsible for submitting the paperwork to the WV Prosecuting Attorneys Institute to obtain the reimbursement from the Forensic Medical Examination Fund for the exam.


An original invoice and completed certification form from the hospital must be submitted, within a reasonable time after the forensic medical examination has been conducted, to the West Virginia Prosecuting Attorneys Institute (WVPAI).



How are SANEs reimbursed for the Forensic Medical Examination?

West Virginia does not have a designated standard pay for a SANE who conducts the forensic medical examination. Each hospital determines how the SANE is reimbursed for those services .


PLEASE NOTE: SANEs can be paid according to their hourly rate or paid a flat rate according to their hourly pay scale. (Most SANE programs in WV pay a flat rate of at least $200.00 per exam.)



If a hospital has funding and is interested in sponsoring the 16 hour (2 day) SANE training, who can provide technical assistance, information and resources?

The West Virginia Foundation for Rape Information and Services (WV FRIS), the state’s sexual assault coalition, can provide the resources and technical support needed to plan and coordinate SANE trainings and/or SANE program development, as well as information about upcoming SANE trainings and requirements.


Any hospital interested in sponsoring the 16 hour classroom portion of the SANE training should contact Debra Lopez-Bonasso, Education Coordinator at 304 366-9508 or by email at