While it's difficult to comprehend, sexual assault is an ugly truth that must be acknowledged. Many people fall victim to assault each year, and the statistics are staggering.

Texas Health Harris Methodist Hospital Fort Worth recognizes the need to help sexual assault victims right away — and begin the healing process. In addition, we recognize that hospitals can play an important role in the collection of forensic evidence to aid in the prosecution of sexual assault cases. That's why Texas Health Fort Worth has launched the Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner (SANE) program in Tarrant County — specifically dedicated to providing compassionate, comprehensive care for sexual assault victims.

Victims can be seen and treated at any time of the day or night in the Marion Emergency Care Center. The sexual assault forensic exam (SAFE) suite has a dedicated private, secure examination room that includes a private restroom and interview room.

SANE-certified nurses are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week and know that when a sexual assault crisis strikes, it's important for victims to be cared for in a safe, respected and professional manner - all while working to collect valid medical forensic evidence.

Since the implementation of SANE programs, a Department of Justice report showed a 95 percent increase in successful prosecution of cases where evidence was collected by a SANE-certified nurse. Until 2010, Dallas was the largest city in the nation without a SANE program.

The SAFE Suite features:

  • Forensic and medical exam room
  • Family waiting room
  • Law enforcement/social service advocacy room
  • Private bathroom with a shower
  • Secure access to evidence collection for law enforcement personnel
  • Education center for SANE nurse training

SANE-certified nurses undergo 180 hours of rigorous classroom and clinical training to learn how to:

  • Show compassion and sensitivity to victims of sexual assault
  • Conduct medical forensic examinations and collect evidence
  • Provide expert courtroom testimony
  • Coordinate sexual assault advocacy
  • Provide emotional support
  • Assist in developing a medical follow-up plan
  • Provide post-assault medication for exposure to sexually transmitted infections and pregnancy

Resources for Victims

For treatment, or to contact the SANE department:

  • Emergency help: 911
  • Texas Health Fort Worth SANE Program: 817-250-4293 (leave message only)

Advocacy and victim services:

Reporting sexual assault:

  • Texas Association Against Sexual Assault
    24-hour hotline: 1-800-656-HOPE (4673)

More information:

  • National Domestic Violence Hotline: 1-800-799-SAFE (7233)
  • SAFE Haven of Tarrant County: 1-877-701-7233
  • Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network (RAINN)
    24-hour hotline: 1-800-656-HOPE (4673)
  • National Center for Victims of Crime
  • Start by Believing
  • "M.A.L.E." (Non-profit organization dedicated to healing male survivors of sexual abuse)

Thanks to the support of many generous individuals and foundations, the SANE Program at Texas Health Fort Worth is bringing transformative change and improvement to forensic evidence collection and healing for sexual assault victims. Our SANE Program is available to speak to groups and organizations about sexual assault. For more information, email JudyHorton@TexasHealth.org.

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