Sexual Assault Forensic Examiner Program
The Sexual Assault Forensic Examiner (SAFE) Program provides training and technical assistance for healthcare providers that care for patients who have suffered sexual assault, and in the use of the Maine sex crimes kit for collection of evidence. This national model utilizes an interdisciplinary, community-based approach for the dignified and compassionate care and treatment of sexual assault patients.
What is a Forensic Examiner?
A Sexual Assault Forensic Examiner (SAFE) is a health care provider (primarily Registered Nurses) who has been specially trained to provide comprehensive care for the sexual assault patient, who demonstrates competency in conducting a forensic exam, and has the ability to be an expert or fact witness in court. Registered nurses, physician assistants, and physicians may participate in the training.
Community Based Response
The Sexual Assault Forensic Examiner Program is an essential component of the Sexual Assault Response Team (SART). Each county-based team includes local law enforcement, the District Attorney's office, SAFEs, and sexual assault support center advocates. Members of the SART share the common goal of creating a seamless, community-based response to the needs of sexual assault victim/survivors. As more is learned about the prevalence of sexual assault/abuse and the related low reporting rate, there is increased responsibility to improve the systems charged with responding to these crimes, and to provide a uniform, integrated, informed response to sexual assault. The key systems are healthcare providers, law enforcement, sexual assault centers and prosecutors. Each SAFE is an integral member of the SART responding to this need.
Benefits of the SAFE Program
Health care providers are often the first responders for survivors of sexual assault. Because of the time needed to assess and treat injuries, and collect forensic evidence, it is cost-effective to have a cadre of SAFEs on call to provide this care. By ensuring that trained health care providers are available to perform the medical-forensic exam, the waiting period to receive care is minimized, trauma from the assault is reduced, the needs of the patient are attended to, and evidence is collected in a manner that meets state standards and promotes successful prosecution.
Training requirements for state SAFE certification are rigorous. Completion of the training requires commitment and time, taking up to a year to complete. The first step is completion of 40 hours of didactic content developed using educational guidelines established by the International Association of Forensic Nurses (IAFN), followed by an additional set of clinical components to gain proficiency in performing the medical-forensic exam. The requirements are consistent with standards created by the International Association of Forensic Nurses and adopted by the American Nurses Association.
For more information contact:
Polly Campbell, RN, Director
Office of the Attorney General
6 State House Station
Augusta, ME 04333-0006
- Legislation governing the forensic examination payment process only, Title 5 M.R.S.A. §3360-M.
- Guidelines for the Care of the Sexual Assault Patient (PDF)
- The mission of the International Association of Forensic Nurses is to provide leadership in forensic nursing practice by developing, promoting, and disseminating information internationally about forensic nursing science.
- The National Sexual Violence Resource Center serves as the nation's principle information and resource center regarding all aspects of sexual violence. It provides national leadership, consultation and technical assistance by generating and facilitating the development and flow of information on sexual violence intervention and prevention strategies. The NSVRC works to address the causes and impact of sexual violence through collaboration, prevention efforts and the distribution of resources.
- The Maine Coalition Against Sexual Assault is organized to put an end to sexual violence in Maine, and to ensure that there will be ongoing support and services for victims and survivors.
- The Maine Coalition to End Domestic Violence (MCEDV) mission is to create and encourage a social, political, and economic environment in which domestic violence no longer exists, and to ensure that battered women are supported and that batterers are held accountable.
- Victims’ Compensation Board Rules for paying forensic claims
- Sample Gross Sexual Assault Forensic Examination Claim Form (Word). Only original forms, contained in the forensic kits, may be submitted for reimbursement.