How to Start a SANE Program in Your Indigenous Community

No one likes to think about violence. But if the unthinkable should happen – to ourselves, to our children, to an elderly parent in a care facility or a best friend in a volatile relationship – most of us assume that the right services will be available should we need them. That we can walk into a hospital and request a rape kit or ask a nurse to assess bruises on our father’s legs or request that a specialist interview our child about abuse. These are called SANE (Sexual Assault Nurse Exam) services and they offer forensic medical exams for victims of strangulation, intimate partner violence, elder abuse, child abuse, and sexual assault. They are invaluable not only for our health but for evidence collection should an incident develop into a court case.

So it’s frightening to realize just how many hospitals and communities lack such services, especially in Tribal nations. On Native reservations, survivors who are already traumatized and scared often have to choose between driving hours to the nearest facility with SANE services or simply giving up.

Build a SANE Program

Our new guide, “Building SANE Programs in Tribal Nations” offers actionable advice on building and running effective programs. Joy Martin, APRN, is a SANE trailblazer who is a voice of compassion and expertise when it comes to launching SANE programs in Tribal nations. In our guide, Joy explains:


You can get your copy of the guide here.

And if you have any questions on launching a SANE program in your community – as always, we’re here to help. Just email to speak to someone with a background in SANE programs in Tribal nations.

4 Responses

  1. Hello, my name is Elizabeth Bryant I have been a nurse for 17 years and during my time working for the military I attended training for Sexual Assault forensic medical examiner. I loved the training and helping serve in this role back then and I am now working with tribal communities in the state of Arizona. I would love to find out how I can get updated training and help serve this need in my AZ tribal communities. I would love to discuss any opportunities that may be available for me with Tribal health.

    Thank you

    Elizabeth Bryant

    1. Thanks for reaching out, Elizabeth! We’d love to talk to you. I will put you in touch with our team.

  2. Hello, My name is Marquita Archie and I am a Public Health student. I am looking to make a huge difference in the Native American communities and interested on promoting this program and would like to become an outreach to Native reservations on improving health disparities Native Americans face with ensuring on missing programs that can promote better health. I am very interested on how I can be involved.

    1. Hi Marquita, thanks for reaching out! It would be great if there’s a way we could work together. I’ll email you!

      ~ Valerie

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Want to Read More?