Transgender and non-binary (trans*) individuals face disproportionately high rates of sexual violence yet experience discrimination at rape crisis centers (RCCs). Sexual assault nurse examiners (SANEs) who receive targeted education are better equipped to care for the trans* community.
This quality improvement project aimed to increase SANEs' self-perceived competence in caring for trans* assault survivors. The secondary purpose was to promote a trans*-inclusive environment at an RCC based on an environmental assessment.
The project involved creating and implementing a virtual continuing education course on providing gender-affirming and trans*-specific care for sexual assault survivors and an environmental evaluation at an RCC. A questionnaire measured SANEs' perceived competency pretraining and posttraining, and paired t tests were conducted to examine the change in competencies. A modified assessment tool was used to evaluate the RCC's capacity for addressing trans* survivors needs.
The training increased self-perceived competency in all four components measured (p < 0.005). More than one third of participants (36.4%, n = 22) indicated having no expertise, and 63.7% reported having some expertise in caring for trans* clients. Two thirds (66.7%) had prior trans*-specific training; however, only 18.2% received trans*-specific content in their SANE training. Most strongly agreed (68.2%) they would benefit from additional training. The organizational assessment identified key areas for improvement.
Trans*-specific training can significantly impact SANEs' self-perceived competency in caring for trans* assault survivors and is feasible and acceptable. This training could have a global impact on SANEs if disseminated more widely, particularly with inclusion in SANE curriculum guidelines.