Texas Health Dallas SANE Nurses Assist with Suspect Identification|
DALLAS — Today, nurses from the Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner (SANE) program at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Dallas were commended for their work collecting DNA evidence in three sexual assault cases that led to the apprehension of a suspected serial offender.
“This team has played a critical role in the investigation which resulted in an arrest, making the community a safer place,” said Dallas Police Chief David Brown. “Dallas is fortunate to have a SANE program where victims of sexual assault can feel safe and cared for after these traumatic events.”
Forensic evidence collected by the SANE nurses in all three cases was compared with a DNA profile obtained by the police and confirmed the identification of the serial offender.
Since the implementation of SANE programs, a Department of Justice study found a 95 percent increase in successful prosecution of cases where evidence was collected by a SANE certified nurse.
“As part of our training, we’re required to complete a number of classroom and clinical hours to learn to conduct exams, collect court-admissible forensic evidence and provide effective courtroom testimony,” said Renee Donald, R.N., SANE supervisor at Texas Health Dallas. “But my primary responsibility is the medical care of my patient. I am here to help the healing process begin by treating each victim with compassion, respect and sensitivity.”
SANE certified nurses also specialize in providing comprehensive treatment of sexual assault victims and can do so in a safe, comforting atmosphere day or night.
The W.W. Caruth, Jr. Center for SAFE Healing, which community members had an opportunity to tour today, is the only center of its kind in Dallas County and provides an environment of healing for sexual assault victims. The 3,000-square-foot, multi-room suite is comprised of medical exam rooms equipped with forensic equipment, law enforcement and social service advocacy rooms, private bathrooms with showers, secure access to evidence collection and a private family waiting area.
Until 2010, Dallas was the largest city in the nation without a certified sexual assault program. With a generous $2 million grant from the W.W. Caruth, Jr. Foundation at Communities Foundation of Texas, Texas Health Dallas opened the SAFE center and developed a training program to certify nurses in forensic evidence collection and other aspects of treating sexual assault victims.
“Ensuring that victims receive compassionate care in a time of crisis is critical. That’s also true for the effective collection of forensic evidence,” said Brent Christopher, president and CEO of Communities Foundation of Texas. “The Caruth Center for SAFE Healing at Texas Health Dallas and the SANE program address a top priority of Will Caruth to strengthen individual security as our city continues to grow. The SANE program and Texas Health Dallas are making major strides for improving public safety.”
Since opening in 2010, the center has treated a total of 376 sexual assault victims and played a significant role in the identification and conviction of a number of sexual assault offenders.
“Department of Justice statistics show that a typical sexual predator will attack nine victims before being caught and I’m proud that we were able to play a role in getting this offender off the street before he could hurt another person,” said Mary Rowe, R.N., manager of the SANE program and the emergency department at Texas Health Dallas.
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