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Increasing Access to Medical Forensic Exams in Texas
Thursday, November 07 2013 @ 03:48 PM Contributed by: adminLM
Increasing Access to Medical Forensic Exams in Texas
By Chris Kaiser, TAASA Staff Attorney
This year the Texas Legislature passed a law to give sexual assault survivors the choice to have forensic evidence collected at any emergency room in the state. Authored by Sen. Wendy Davis (Ft. Worth) and Rep. Senfronia Thompson (Houston), the bill has generated much discussion among sexual assault advocates, medical professionals, law enforcement officials, and the media.
The impetus for the new law was that survivors in some remote areas of the state had found themselves in an impossible dilemma. They desperately wanted to have evidence of their rapes collected, but the distance to the nearest ER with a SANE program was too far to travel—sometimes several hours away. Against that backdrop, SB 1191 represents the idea that survivors should not have to choose between spending time and money they do not have to travel to the “right” hospital and not having evidence collected at all.
SB 1191 took effect on September 1, 2013. As facilities and response teams across Texas work to implement the law as smoothly as possible, now is an important time to review what to expect at the ER.
Can we still transfer survivors to the local SANE program?
Yes, as long as the survivor consents to the transfer. The law doesn’t prohibit ERs without SANEs from transferring patients to ERs that do have SANEs. In fact, advocates and medical professionals should encourage survivors to utilize the services of certified SANEs whenever possible. In many communities, both urban and rural, a transfer to the nearest facility with a SANE program is relatively quick and will not create significant obstacles for the survivor.
The situation may be different for more remote communities, where the nearest facility with a SANE program may be hours away. In these areas, ERs may still offer the transfer, and survivors may still choose to accept it. However, the longer trip may not be tenable for some survivors, particularly those who lack adequate child care or flexibility in work schedules. Although the law covers all ERs, emergency departments in these areas should be especially prepared to collect evidence for survivors unable to travel.
Does every ER need to have a certified SANE?
No. The law requires each ER to develop a plan to train its personnel on basic sexual assault forensic evidence collection. The continuing education on forensic evidence collection that is already required for nurses working in ERs (Tex. Occ. Code § 301.306; 22 Tex. Admin. Code § 216.3(5)) may satisfy the SB 1191 minimum training requirement. The Board of Nursing will write rules making that determination this fall. The Medical Board will also be creating rules soon to provide direction for physicians.
That said, each community’s criminal district attorney can serve a vital role in developing policies on training and evidence collection. Felony prosecutors have critical insight into what level of expertise is necessary to ensure the integrity of criminal prosecutions. As medical facilities balance these interests with their own legal compliance, DAs’ offices can provide a valuable perspective.
Finally, to help survivors locate the preferred, certified SANE care, the law also requires the Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) to publish a list of all ERs with SANE programs and their locations. The list must be included on the DSHS website.
Without a doubt, more questions will arise as time goes on. The Texas Association Against Sexual Assault stands ready to assist rape crisis centers and advocates, SART members, and survivors during this implementation period.
[ Views: 1745 ]
Advocates and Law Enforcement: Oil and Water?
Thursday, October 02 2008 @ 12:24 AM Contributed by: adminLM
Most Recent Post: 10/06 04:01AM by monu [ Views: 3929 ]
SAFENOWPROJECT Press Release
Thursday, August 31 2006 @ 03:10 PM Contributed by: adminLM
SAFENOWPROJECT salutes President Bush and members of Congress for their unanimous support of a landmark sex offender and child protection bill!
July 27, 2006
Today is a big day, not only for SAFENOWPROJECT, but for the protection of children and families across the country. At 1:20 EST, President Bush signed into law HR 4472, known as the "Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act of 2006", a bill viewed by many as the most comprehensive sex offender management and child safety legislation passed in decades. According to the SAFENOWPROJECT's Founder Margaret Bullens, HR 4472 is unique because "not only does it improve our nation's current sex offender registration and community notification laws, but it develops opportunities for our country to better understand the problem of sexual violence and look toward the development of new strategies and resources to hold sex predators accountable, while protecting known and potential victims and offering hope and new opportunities for proactive prevention."
The SAFENOWPROJECT is a national 501c3 nonprofit organization, incorporated in northern Missouri, that creates, promotes and advocates community-based strategies and resources to eliminate child sexual abuse. Our organization has played a significant role in providing ongoing education about the benefits, limitations and unintended consequences of the many proposed bills by members of Congress that ultimately led to the overall compilation of HR 4472.
We are happy to report that many members of Congress listened and took action based on our education and advocacy efforts that began with the development of a "Legislative Wish-list" in 2005. Along with our support of HR 4472 (which includes the national sex offender registry), we asked that Congress create a risk-based classification system to allow law enforcement and the public-at-large an opportunity to better understand the varied levels of risks posed by the 500,000+ sex offenders on the registry, and perhaps more importantly, ensure that our limited resources are focused specifically on the predatory offenders who pose the greatest threat in our communities. Congressman Paul Gillmor (OH) took the initiative to add a study to define this risk- based classification system to HR 4472, and also introduced it as a stand-alone bill "SAFE NOW ACT of 2006", otherwise referred to as HR 4815. After much debate between the Senate and House, there was unanimous support for HR 4472, along with language added by Congressman Gillmor that addresses risk classification that can be found in Section 637 of the new law.
Instead of heading to DC to attend the bill signing, SAFENOWPROJECT is headed to Kansas City, the organization's future planned headquarters, to film an educational video focused on our TAKE FIVE (TM) program which is slated to be incorporated as an upcoming module in the national Neighborhood Watch toolkit soon to be released by the National Sheriffs' Association.
For more information or to make a financial contribution to support our ongoing child safety and prevention efforts, please contact our office or visit our website.
Most Recent Post: 12/06 04:55PM by KamilahBarton [ Views: 2590 ]
SANE Programs in all 50 States
Monday, August 28 2006 @ 02:54 PM Contributed by: adminLM
With the addition of the Rhode Island program operating out of the Women and Infants Hospital, all fifty U.S. states now have at least one operating SANE program. The Rhode Island SANE program was started by Lu Force, RN, Donna LaFontaine, MD, and Susan Duffy, MD, with significant support from the RI State Attorney General, Patrick Lynch.
The Rhode Island program began providing service in February of 2006 . They currently have 14 SANE trained nurses performing exams, and they expect to see approximately 100 victims a year.
[ Views: 7961 ]
sane-sart.com Gets a New Look
Friday, January 14 2005 @ 10:45 PM Contributed by: Anonymous
The Sexual Assault Resource Service is pleased to introduce you to our newly redesigned Web site. Key features of the redesigned site include an expanded Topics menu, site to site interaction with a Forum for each discipline within the SART, access to aggregate data, expanded user input, an opportunity to Vote in the current poll, and a calendar of events (conferences, courses).
If you have not already done so, please click on New User on the left of your screen to set up your sane-sart.com account. As a sane-sart.com User, you will:
--have access to all Topics sections
--have access to aggregate data compiled by SANE programs participating in our Web Team program
--be able to participate in the Forum specific to your discipline
--be able to contribute conference/course listings, link suggestions
and stories for review and possible posting on this Web site
After your registration has been processed, you may access the special sections of the Web site by clicking on the Topic of your choice on the upper left of your screen.
After your registration has been processed, you may access the Forum for your discipline by scrolling to the
bottom of this page and clicking on your discipline.
The Information We Collect
[ Views: 4858 ]
The New York Times October 28 Edition: Tracing 'John Doe' DNA, Police Match Suspect to Old Sex Crime
Sunday, January 02 2005 @ 09:28 PM Contributed by: Anonymous
The October 28 issue of The New York Times published "Tracing 'John Doe' DNA, Police Match Suspect to Old Sex Crime" an article written by Sabrina Tavernise. sane-sart.com Advisory Board member Norman Gahn, assistant district attorney with the Milwaukee County District Attorney's Office, was interviewed for the article. The article references that the "John Doe" approach originated in Milwaukee in 1999 when Norm Gahn's office issued a warrant for arrest based on a DNA profile.
This Web site is supported by Grant No. 27-60-I01014 awarded by the
U.S. Department of Commerce, National Telecommunications and Information
Administration. Initial funding was provided by Grant No. 96-VF-GX-K012 awarded by
the U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs, Office for
Victims of Crime. Points of view within this Web site are those of participating
writers/researchers and do not necessarily represent the official position or
policies of the U.S. Department of Commerce, the U.S. Department of Justice or
the Sexual Assault Resource Service.