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The Role of the Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner in England: Nurse Experiences and Perspectives

Cowley, Rhiannon MSc, BSc(Hons), RN1; Walsh, Elizabeth PhD, MSc, BSc(Hons), RN2; Horrocks, Judith MPhil, BA(Hons)3

Journal of Forensic Nursing:
doi: 10.1097/JFN.0000000000000026
Original Articles

ABSTRACT: Sexual Assault Nurse Examiners (SANEs) were introduced in the United Kingdom in 2001, but there is a lack of knowledge about their role and the services they provide. The aim of this study was to explore the role of SANEs currently working in England. Qualitative semistructured interviews explored the training experiences, roles, and working practices of five SANEs in a variety of settings. The findings identified three categories: training and qualifications, SANE care, and working within multidisciplinary teams (MDT). SANEs have complex roles that involve patient care as well as collection of forensic evidence. There was variation in service provision and training of SANEs interviewed and differences in how they felt their role was regarded by members of the MDT. The findings suggest that SANE services need further evaluation to determine a model of practice that can be consistently implemented to provide both optimal patient care and reliable forensic evidence.

Author Information

Author Affiliations: 1Leeds Teaching Hospital Trust, UK; 2School of Healthcare, University of Leeds, UK and School of Nursing, University of Ottawa, Canada; and 3School of Healthcare, University of Leeds, UK.

The authors declare no conflict of interest.

Correspondence: Elizabeth Walsh, PhD, MSc, BSc(Hons), RN, School of Healthcare, University of Leeds, Leeds, LS2 9UT. E-mail:

Received February 5, 2014; accepted for publication March 25, 2014.

© 2014 by the International Association of Forensic Nurses. All rights reserved.

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