An examination of SANE data: Clinical considerations based on victim‐assailant relationship

Sharon B. Murphy, University of New Hampshire
Sharyn J. Potter, University of New Hampshire
Jennifer Pierce-Weeks, Forensic Nurse Examiner Program
Jane G. Stapleton, University of New Hampshire
Desiree Wiesen-Martin, University of New Hampshire


The current study analyzes adult female sexual assault data, collected by sexual assault nurse examiners (SANEs) in New Hampshire, United States, between 1997 and 2007. The purposes of this study were to (1) explore the relationship between patient and assailant, (2) examine patients' physical findings according to assailant type, (3) describe characteristics of both the patients and the assaults, and (4) make care recommendations. Secondary analysis was conducted on data gathered by SANEs from responses to a standardized questionnaire based on the medical/forensic examination of each patient over an 11‐year period. Of the 741 women in this study, 53% were sexually assaulted by a nonstranger, 18% were assaulted by an intimate partner, and 11% were assaulted by a stranger. The relationship between patient and assailant is an important variable that requires SANEs to take a closer look at assessing for lethality, and assisting with safety planning, intervention, and treatment for victims.