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Delivery and Evaluation of Sexual Assault Forensic Examiner (SAFE) Training Programs

Award Information

Award #
Congressional District
Funding First Awarded
Total funding (to date)

Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2010, $1,424,212)

This project will create and implement an online didactic Sexual Assault Forensic Examiner (SAFE) curriculum, taught over a 12-week period through a series of modules and followed by a two-day clinical skills workshop. Each course will be completed in 15 weeks. The course will be offered four times for 75 people in each training wave during the grant. Overall, this project will train 300 SAFEs over the course of 15 months. All modules created for the course will be available to trainees at no cost. A major component to the SAFE training will be related to the identification, collection, preservation, and analysis of DNA evidence by medical personnel. This entire project will include (1) an implementation assessment and impact evaluation of the training, (2) technical assistance provided during the training, (3) how this training may impact the sexual assault victim's participation in the criminal justice process and (4) an assessment of the utility of the medical forensic documentation by Criminal Justice System (CJS) personnel. This training will be rigorously evaluated by the research team's strategic partners including Wayne State University with Dr. Debra Patterson in consult with Dr. Rebecca Campbell.

Limited access to education has been identified as a major contributor to the shortage of SAFE-trained clinicians. There is no existing standardized curriculum available for SAFE training, and there is no accreditation process in place for those delivering the training. Even when states have brought in trainers, there has frequently not been the opportunity for clinicians to obtain necessary post-didactic clinical hours. This project will address those issues and others by providing accessible, standardized, evidence-based SAFE training to registered nurses, nurse practitioners, physician assistants and physicians while at the same time evaluating the training to determine whether it leads trainees to adopt the necessary skills into their practice and to identify any challenges faced by the trainees in learning and applying these skills. The proposed evaluation will assess the trainees' knowledge, skills, and abilities throughout the training and examine their skills post-training to document whether they provided empowering patient care (from the patient perspective) and whether the quality of their medical forensic exam documentation (as assessed by national forensic nursing and CJ subject matter experts) is of the caliber required for legal proceedings.


Date Created: September 19, 2010