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The purpose of this project is to initiate a Sexual Abuse Response Team (SART) for forensic evidence collection within a hospital system based in Michigan. More specifically, this SART development will focus on the training and education planning of sexual abuse nurses within a Michigan healthcare system in the metropolitan Detroit, Michigan area. Currently, there is a lack of the necessary protocols for professionals to properly care for victims of sexual assault. This project will focus on developing an educational format and system-wide protocols for healthcare systems to train their own staff nurses in the care of sexual assault patients and forensic evidence collection.

Michigan State Police statistics indicated 11,188 offenses related to sexual assault were reported to law enforcement in 2016, and between 2017-2018, FBI reports saw a 28% increase in cases. The Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner (SANE) is a Registered Nurse with extensive knowledge of forensic evidence collection to bridge the gap between healthcare and the legal system. SANEs are qualified to recognize and preserve the fragile and perishable biological, trace, and physical evidence from crime scenes, whether in the field or in the hospital. Given the exceptional care delivered by local hospitals and the nursing staff, residents in the Detroit areas are likely to receive care at exemplary facilities, such as the occurrence of sexual assault. Thus, it is imperative to have standards in place to provide specialized services for compromised patient populations, like SANE nurses who are properly trained to work with forensic populations. Implementing a sexual assault program staffed and trained in sexual emergencies, is especially important with the rising numbers of rape crimes in Michigan.

Due to the nature of this education proposal format, Institutional Review Board approval was neither sought, approved, nor necessary. To begin, this SART program will be set at three of the most prominent facilities spread throughout different areas of the city. Educational training will occur in one central location for all sessions. The concept of these settings is to cover different areas of metro Detroit with already prominent, existing services. This is ideal for the spread among different areas, which allots for easier access of patients in different parts of the metropolitan Detroit area, where rape rates are highest in the state of Michigan. In order to track the success of this SANE training and education objective for SART team response, it is important to evaluate the progress and success.

A Likert-scale evaluation will be used along with educational skills stations, written post-education examination to evaluate nurse preparedness and feedback for training. The evaluation will ask questions pertaining to the education experience, personal readiness to respond, and a free text area for suggestions to improve the process for future SANE trainees at the end of a 40-hour extensive training as recommended by standards of the International Association of Forensic Nurses (IAFN). Since 1992, The Joint Commission has required emergency and active care facilities to establish protocols for rape, sexual molestation, and domestic abuse. The legal theory of “respondeat superior” holds that employers are liable for the negligent acts of an employee who acts within the scope of employment.Two frameworks were used to formulate this education proposal. The Integrated Practice Model for Forensic Nursing Science synthesizes the multidisciplinary and multisectorial framework for the accountability in forensic nursing, forensic science, and criminal justice overall, combining philosophies of physical science and legal implications. The SART Coordinated Response to Sexual Assault Model generalizes the basic duties of hospitals, victim advocates, law enforcement and prosecutors.



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