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The Impact of SANE Programs on Adult Sexual Assault Investigation and Prosecution

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Dr. Rebecca Campbell, a professor of psychology at Michigan State University, discusses the findings and methodology of a research project she recently completed that examined whether SANE programs positively impacted the prosecution rates for adult sexual assault cases. SANE programs were developed by the nursing profession to provide comprehensive care for rape survivors that includes not only medical treatment for physical injuries due to the assault, but also attention to survivor emotional needs and the collection of forensic evidence relevant to any investigation and prosecution. SANEs receive training for performing each of these functions. The research compared investigation and prosecution rates for adult sexual assaults in a Midwestern county before and after the implementation of the SANE program. The study found that the SANE program had a statistically significant impact in increasing the rate of sexual assault cases referred by police to prosecutors, the rate of cases prosecuted, and the rate of cases concluded with convictions or guilty pleas. The statistically significant impact of the SANE program was determined after taking into account other variables that might have influenced the outcomes measured. The research methodology is described in detail.

Date Created: March 26, 2014