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Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner (SANE) Program


Back to Emergency Medicine

Help for Victims of Sexual Assault

Through the Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner (SANE) program, Freeman doctors and nurses offer free forensic exams and compassionate care to adult female and male sexual assault victims at the Freeman Hospital West Emergency Room in Joplin. The program provides a coordinated hospital response and comprehensive care for victims of sexual violence.

We understand the seriousness of sexual crimes, and treat our patients with the sensitivity they deserve. With the SANE program, we help fight sexual violence in the community by working with area agencies to:

  • Ensure the safety of the victim and the victim’s children
  • Provide medical care and advocacy services
  • Offer the choice to have a free evidence collection exam
  • Help the victim report the crime to law enforcement, if the victim chooses
  • Make referrals to other helpful services

Through a partnership with Lafayette House, the program also offers emergency shelter and services. Additionally, the SANE program provides community education on sexual violence awareness, prevention and available services.


How it works

To receive SANE program services, adult (age 18 or older) sexual assault victims must visit Emergency Room within five days of the assault. A specially trained nurse, called a Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner or SANE, is part of the SANE program team providing care, compassion and treatment to sexual assault victims. If the victim chooses, the SANE helps to report the crime and/or collects evidence of the sexual assault. The SANE program team offers support and help throughout the legal process if the victim chooses to press charges.

Sexual assault victims under the age of 18 should visit Children's Center.


Have you been sexually assaulted? Get information and resources for victims of sexual assault.

Freeman west Emergency Room - Freeman Hospital west

West 1102 West 32nd Street
Joplin, Missouri

Freeman SANE Program

417.347.SANE (7263)

Lafayette House


Resources for Sexual Assault Victims

    Rape or sexual assault is forced or unwanted sex or sexual contact. Sexual assault happens to both women and men.

    1. Find a safe place—anywhere away from the attacker. Ask a trusted friend to stay with you for moral support.
    2. Know that what happened was not your fault and now you should do what is best for you.
    3. Report the assault by calling 911 or your local law enforcement agency.
    4. To preserve evidence of the attack—don't change clothes, bathe or brush your teeth.
    5. Write down all the details you can remember about the assault and the attacker.
    6. Seek medical attention. Even if you know you will never report the assault or have no physical injuries, it is important to determine the risks of infections and pregnancy.
    7. Recognize that healing from sexual assault takes time. Don’t rush the healing process.
    8. Even if the assault happened years ago, know that it's never too late to call for help.

    Sexual assault victims receive compassionate care and support at Freeman. Emergency Room staff will not contact law enforcement about the sexual assault unless you ask them. Attacks on children, people over age 60, people who are disabled or live in a nursing home, and gunshot wounds must be reported by law.

    1. First, an Emergency Room doctor will treat any physical injuries.
    2. Next, you move into a private exam room to talk with the SANE nurse and a Lafayette House advocate about the help you may need. This includes planning for your safety and the safety of your children.
    3. If you choose, the SANE nurse and Lafayette House advocate will help you report the crime. Even if you do not want to report the assault to law enforcement or press charges, you can still have a free evidence collection exam.
    4. Also, if you choose, a SANE nurse will gather evidence of the sexual assault. This may include having pictures taken; clothing collected; and providing hair, blood, urine, or other samples. The SANE nurse will make sure the evidence goes to law enforcement or storage, whichever you choose.
    5. Finally, the SANE nurse will give any needed medications or vaccinations. The SANE nurse also will explain care needed after your exam and other available services to help meet your needs.
    • Immediate transfer to medical treatment room or private waiting area—no long wait in the Emergency Room waiting area.
    • Kindness and respect from a nurse dedicated only to your care.
    • Lafayette House advocate available for support.
    • Availability of counselors.
    • Private exam room and special equipment to help sexual assault victims.
    • Free evidence collection exam.
    • Infection treatment and prevention care.
    • Emergency medication to prevent pregnancy.
    • Emergency shelter and services through Lafayette House.
    • Assistance with getting orders of protection.
    • Support and help throughout the legal process if pressing charges.
    • Better quality of evidence collected means more prosecutions—attackers go to jail.

    Children and teens younger than age 18 who are sexually abused or assaulted are referred to Children's Center for exams. Children’s Center, especially equipped to serve the needs of child victims, offers a safe haven for abused children.

    The nurses and doctors at Freeman understand the seriousness of sexual crimes, and they will treat you with the sensitivity you deserve. With the SANE program, now more than ever, Freeman helps fight sexual violence in our communities.