Wisconsin Department of Justice
Wisconsin Forensic Nurse Education: Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner (SANE) Training

This 5-day seminar prepares the Registered Nurse with the minimum education necessary to practice as a forensic nurse examiner (FNE) in the state of Wisconsin.   Registered Nurses who treat victims of violent crime, such as sexual violence or assault, must receive additional and specific didactic preparation to adequately care for this population.  This ensures that all patients who are reporting sexual violence or assault receive competent and trauma-informed care, taking into consideration cultural, racial, ethnic, gender identity, sexual and socioeconomic diversity.  Attendees will be taught specific clinical and evidence-based standards of forensic nursing practice, as established by the International Association of Forensic Nurses (IAFN) and Forensic Nursing Scope and Standards of Practice.  Concepts such as sexual violence, trauma, and crisis intervention will be covered in depth, as well as skills such as evidence collection, forensic photography, and courtroom testimony.  In addition, Wisconsin statutes pertinent to forensic nurse practice will be covered.   

Course Agenda


Overview of Forensic Nursing & Sexual Violence

Reviews the incidence, prevalence, and dynamics of sexual and interpersonal violence (IPV) with considerations of the impact on vulnerable populations.  Discusses the history of forensic science in medicine, the evolution of forensic nursing, code of ethics and scope and standards of forensic nursing practice. 


Trauma & Crisis Intervention

Taught by licensed Trauma Therapists who deal with sexual assault and IPV survivors, this section will cover the neurobiology of trauma, psychosocial responses to sexual violence and sequelae, and techniques and strategies for interacting with patients and families following a disclosure. 


Collaborating with Community Agencies/ Sexual Assault Response Teams (SARTs)

Overview of SARTs (Sexual Assault Response Teams) and MDTs (Multidisciplinary Teams); roles and responsibilities of multidisciplinary members. Victim Advocates (community and systems based), Law Enforcement personnel (including Corrections/PREA Investigators), Prosecuting Attorneys, Forensic Scientists and Social Services will discuss their roles, as well as the Forensic Nurse and their role within the MDT.  Strategies for collaboration and communication between disciplines will be covered.


Medical Forensic History Taking

Discusses the key components of a comprehensive medical forensic patient history, including a focused review of systems and sensitive questions about the assault history, and how this guides the forensic nurse’s plan of care and recommendations.  Includes techniques for establishing rapport, trauma-informed interviewing, polyvictimization, and coordination of interviewing with Law Enforcement.


Observing and Assessing Physical Findings

Covers the components of a comprehensive head to toe physical assessment in sexual assault.  Discusses the mechanical and physical trauma types, terminology, strangulation, and anogenital exam techniques (positioning, toluidine blue dye, hymen visualization techniques and structures, including when to refer.  Normal variants and mimics.


Medical Forensic Photography

 Discusses the practical concepts of forensic photography, informed consent, storage, confidentiality, legal issues, and peer review.  Also addresses patient needs and considerations when photographing in these circumstances.


Evidence Collection 

Review of the Wisconsin Crime Lab Sexual Assault Evidence Kit, including DFSA and other aspects and principles of evidence collection, chain of custody, use of alternative light source.  Discusses the difference between patient and suspect evidence collection, and the legal authorizations needed for suspects, such as written consent, court order and search warrants.  Patient options for evidence collection in the state of Wisconsin.


Sexually Transmitted Infections, Testing & Treatment; Pregnancy Risk Assessment and Care.

 Prevalence and incidence in the state of Wisconsin and across the globe.  Overview of common STIs, symptoms and mimics, addressing patient concerns and myths regarding transmission, treatment, and prophylaxis.  Pregnancy rates post sexual assault and pregnancy testing methods and concepts for patient education surrounding these issues.


Medical-Forensic Documentation

Key concepts in accurate and unbiased documentation, event history, sources of evidence, objective vs subjective data.  Forms, body maps/anatomic diagrams, storage, and confidentiality considerations.


Discharge & Follow Up Planning 

 Resources and multidisciplinary collaborative agencies to address specific safety, medical, forensic, and psychological needs of the patient.


Legal Considerations for Forensic Practice in Wisconsin; Judicial Proceedings 

Covers issues of consent, mandatory reporting, EMTALA/Medical Screening Exams, confidentiality, Victim Accompaniment and Emergency Contraception statutes reviewed.  In addition, reimbursement programs such as Crime Victim Compensation and the Wisconsin SAFE Fund (Sexual Assault Forensic Exam) Fund.   Judicial proceedings and the forensic nurse’s role and expectations around courtroom testimony will be covered by experienced District Attorneys.


Requirements for successful completion:

Attendance for the entire activity and completion and submission of an evaluation form.

The planners, presenters and reviewers of this activity have declared no conflict of interest.



Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner (SANE) Seminar for the Adult, Adolescent and Pediatric Populations

In-person class date:  September 12-16th, 2022 in Weston, Wisconsin

Self-paced modules anticipated to be open August 1st.



Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner (SANE) Seminar for the Adult, Adolescent and Pediatric Populations

In-person class date:  January 30-February 3, 2023 - Gundersen Health Onalaska Education Center, La Crosse


More information about registration coming this summer!

This course offering is pending approval by the International Association of Forensic Nurses.

Please call Susan Kanack, BSN, RN, SANE-A, SANE-P, State SANE Coordinator at 608-264-6214 or email kanacksm@doj.state.wi.us at the Wisconsin Department of Justice, Office of Crime Victim Services, for more information about contact hours.