News release

Expansion of Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner Program

More services are being provided across Nova Scotia for people who have experienced sexual assault.

The Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner (SANE) program is now available through two more regional hospitals in the province. The Tri County Women’s Centre is offering the program at the Valley Regional Hospital in Kentville and South Shore Regional Hospital in Bridgewater.

A contract has also been awarded to VON Nova Scotia to expand the program to Colchester and Cumberland counties, East Hants and the Eastern Shore. The VON will work with Nova Scotia Health Authority to train nurses. Once in place, the program will be available through all regional hospitals, providing in-person coverage across the province.

“SANE nurses support survivors of sexual assault during an incredibly difficult time,” said Health and Wellness Minister Randy Delorey. “The impact of sexual assault can be devastating, and we are committed to ensuring Nova Scotians have in-person, 24/7 access to this important service.”

Sexual Assault Nurse Examiners are registered nurses who have advanced training and expertise to provide specialized medical and forensic response. On-call nurses provide emergency care that includes supportive care, medical attention, information and additional resources, as well as the option to have forensic evidence collected.

Quotes:

VON is honoured to have been selected to provide this important service in Colchester, East Hants, Cumberland and the Eastern Shore. Access to close-to-home services and support can be critical to a survivor’s recovery process. VON will build on established and effective community-based models in delivering trauma-informed care, enhanced by our expertise and experience in the delivery of community nursing care. Jo-Anne Poirier, president and CEO, VON

SANE response is done in a timely, trauma-informed manner that aims to restore control to those who are survivors of sexual assault. We are able to focus on the physical and emotional needs of the individual during a very vulnerable time, and are also able to make referrals to help meet the person’s psychological, social, and legal needs through the collaboration of community partners. Shana Vidito, sexual assault nurse examiner co-ordinator, Tri County Women’s Centre

Through our partnerships with the five contracted SANE service providers, we are pleased to continue to expand access to this important service for sexual assault survivors in Nova Scotia. These expansions will bring the service closer to home for survivors across the province. Susan Wilson, provincial co-ordinator, Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner Program, NSHA

Quick Facts:

  • someone wishing to access a SANE nurse can call the location nearest to them 24 hours a day, seven days a week or can go to the closest emergency department
  • on-site service is currently available in 13 hospitals and health centres across the province
  • if on-site service is not available at a hospital, individuals will be transferred to a hospital that has an on-call SANE
  • health-care teams at any hospital can complete the medical and forensic exam if the patient chooses to not be transferred
  • other services available to people who have experienced sexual violence include free legal advice, dedicated sexual assault prosecutors and trauma therapy
  • government is investing about $1.36 million this year on SANE

Additional Resources:

Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner Program, Nova Scotia Health Authority: https://www.nshealth.ca/SANE

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Media Contacts:

Heather Fairbairn
Health and Wellness Cell: 902-717-2151 Email:
Nova Scotia Health Authority
Provincial media line: 844-483-3344 Email: