Caddo Parish Coroner's Office

Sexual Assaults

The Office of the Coroner is responsible for all Sexual Assault Exams under police investigation per La RS 13:5713(F). This law states the coroner or his designee shall examine all alleged victims of a sexually-oriented criminal offense. The coroner may select the hospital or healthcare provider for sexual assault examinations. Caddo Parish Coroner designates sexual assault victims to be examined by certified and competent Sexual Assault Nurse Examiners.

What is a SANE?

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A Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner-SANE (or Sexual Assault Forensic Examiner-SAFE) is a registered nurse or licensed doctor who has been specifically trained to provide comprehensive care to patients of sexual crimes.

The SANE or SAFE is specifically trained to identify physical trauma, document injuries, collect evidence and maintain the chain of custody, and to provide necessary referrals. To become a SANE, the medical professional must successfully complete an intensive 40-hour training.

Additional hours of specific clinical experience are also required. SANE programs have made a profound difference in the quality of care provided to sexual assault victims. Sexual Assault Nurse or Forensic Examiners are specifically trained at enhancing evidence collection for more effective investigations and better prosecutions. This is true in both stranger and non-stranger sexual assault cases.

Statistics show one out of every three women will be the victim of some form of sexual assault in her lifetime.* Sadly, statistics also show that, of all the types of crimes that exist, rape or sexual assault is the most under reported. Sexual violence knows no boundaries. It destroys innocent lives.

Every one is vulnerable to this horrendous crime, regardless of sex, age, race or social standing. Yet, because of the general response to this crime, almost 85%** of all victims never report the attack.

There are many reasons why victims don’t report: trauma, fear, guilt, shame, embarrassment, to name a few. There is also uncertainty as to where to go to report the attack; hospital, police, where? And then what happens?

Here’s what you need to know: If you become the victim of a sexual assault, go immediately to a hospital, if you can, or call the authorities/911 and they will take you there. Do not change clothes, take a shower or remove from your person anything you were wearing at the time of the attack.

The hospital will immediately activate the Sexual Assault Response Team and a member of the team will stay with you to coordinate and provide anything you might need. The role of the SANE or SAFE is to provide a compassionate and competent forensic-medical exam, collect evidence and provide crisis intervention.

Studies have shown that communities with properly-trained forensic examiners and response coordination have better evidence collection, higher prosecution rates and safer communities.

We hope you will never be the “one in three.” But if you do become the victim of a sexual or violent assault, get help immediately. Keeping silent will not make the assault go away, and it will allow the attacker another chance to assault you or someone else. Do not allow the person(s) who hurt you to go unpunished.

SOURCE: * Bachar and Koss 2001 ** Kilpatrick, Edmunds and Seymour 1992

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