New York State Sexual Assault Examiner
Program Fact Sheet
New York's Sexual Assault Examiner (SAE) Programs were established in 1995 to improve the delivery of emergency care to sexual assault victims.
SAE Program Goals
New York's SAE program has four goals. First and foremost is to restore the health and well-being of sexual assault victims by treating their physical and psychological trauma. Next is to develop a team of specially-trained health care professionals to perform forensic exams and provide aftercare. Similarly, SAE programs seek to create and develop specialized training for future sexual assault forensic examiners. Finally, the program seeks to improve crime reporting and the conviction rate for sexual assault through collaboration with law enforcement and prosecutors.
Most of New York's SAE Programs are supported by federal S.T.O.P. Violence
Against Women Act (VAWA) funds, which
are administered by the Division of Criminal Justice Services, Office of Program Development and Funding.
Operation of SAE Programs
New York SAE programs have established procedures for standard and comprehensive care to all sexual assault victims. Examiners are specifically trained to care for these victims. When victims sustain serious injuries, forensic examiners ensure that their medical needs are met first. Examiners are trained to provide a sensitive examination and collect forensic evidence as components of the overall treatment process. They are usually available to victims within 60 minutes of their admission into hospital facilities.
Private areas are dedicated for victim treatment within emergency rooms and may include waiting areas, exam rooms, showers, phones, and forensic equipment. Some programs also provide a change of clothing for victims.
SAE programs follow-up with victims once initial treatment and evidence collection are completed. This aftercare provides for information counseling, medical treatment, and crisis intervention for the victim.
Another essential element in the operation of SAE programs is collaboration with other agencies. These programs work with law enforcement personnel, prosecutors, emergency medical services, community organizations, and volunteers to integrate service providers under the umbrella of the SAE. This collaboration recognizes sexual assault as a serious crime which requires immediate attention.
Some SAE programs receive donations and volunteer support from business and community programs. Sexual assault evidence kits are available free of charge to hospitals by contacting the DCJS Office of Program Development and Funding at (518) 457-9726.
New York's SAE Programs
SAE programs operate in large metropolitan and suburban communities, and in rural counties across New York State. While each follows basic protocols, programs incorporate unique elements as needed by their service area. SAE programs may offer training to ancillary medical staff who have contact with victims; conduct public speaking and outreach activities; and train law enforcement and prosecutorial staff.
Most New York SAE programs are administered by program staff in hospitals, rape crisis centers, county sheriff departments, or district attorney offices. The following represents a sampling of SAE programs within New York State.
Family Services, Inc, a Dutchess County agency, provides high quality, compassionate care to sexual assault victims who present to St. Francis or Vassar Brothers Hospital Emergency Departments. In addition to a forensic exam performed by a trained sexual assault examiner, victims are able to receive crisis intervention, emotional support, and other services from Family Services staff and advocates. A private exam room with shower facilities in each hospital is also available. This project is a collaboration between all law enforcement agencies in the county and the District Attorney's Office, and has led to a higher conviction rate when victims received services from the program.
New York City
The Crime Victim Treatment Center of the St. Luke's-Roosevelt Hospital Center operates an in-house Sexual Assault Forensic Examiner Program (SAFE) in three locations in New York City. This program ensures victims state-of-the art medical and forensic treatment. As a result, discharge protocols have been developed, and an increased number of victims receive followup medical and counseling services. Additionally, this SAFE program has enhanced the community response to sexual assault through its successful collaboration with the Manhattan District Attorney's Office and the New York City Police Department.
The REACH Center in the rural Hudson Valley region of New York State offers services to victims in Columbia and Greene counties. Sexual assault nurse examiners, rape crisis counselors and hospital staff work together to provide optimal care for sexual assault victims who present to Columbia Memorial Hospital for medical treatment and evidence collection. The victims are provided with a safe and comfortable environment for a medical forensic exam, which includes a designated room with private bathroom and specialize equipment. A change of clothing and toiletries are also offered. Counselors provide victims with immediate physical, emotional and psychological support, and advocacy in the criminal justice system if they wish to pursue their case.
Sexual Assault Reform Act (Chapter 1of the Laws of 2000)
On October 19, 2000, New York Governor George E. Pataki signed the Sexual Assault Reform Act (SARA) and hailed it as a historic weapon in the fight to protect New Yorkers from sexual predators. The Act, which went into effect on February 1, 2001, represents the first comprehensive reform to the sexual assault laws in more than 30 years. SARA includes stronger venalities for offenses, new crime classifications, and language changes in the penal law. This legislation also impacts SAE programs across New York State in the following important ways:
Sexual assault victims are no longer required to report the crime to the police in order to establish their eligibility for NYS Office of Victim Services (formerly Crime Victims Board) compensation funds. SARA allows for the documentation of a forensic exam to establish eligibility.
Sexual Assault Examiner Programs (SAE) will be designated throughout the state. The NYS Department of Health will establish criteria, in consultation with DCJS, to determine eligibility for the sites of these programs. SARA has recognized the expert, compassionate care SAE programs provide and emphasizes the importance of access for all victims to SAE services.
Statutory funding for rape crisis programs was established. SARA authorizes the NYS Department of Health to contract, within amounts appropriated, for the provision of rape crisis programs, and it defines what constitutes a rape crisis program.
For More Information
For more information about establishing a Sexual Assault Examiner program in your area, contact the Division's Office of Program Development and Funding, by e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or telephone at (518) 457-9726.
Interactive Sexual Assault Examiner Program map,
outlining DCJS/VAWA funded programs in NYS - This is currently being updated and will be available as soon as possible. Thank you for your patience.
Additional Information on Violence Against Women