UNC Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner (SANE) Program

The mission of UNC’s SANE program is to provide those affected by sexual violence a safe place to receive timely, compassionate, competent care by a sexual assault nurse examiner who is proficient in medical forensic evaluation and treatment. By utilizing the ideals of evidence-based, patient-centered, culturally competent, and trauma-informed care, we hope to promote the psychological well-being of our patients by empowering them with support, health information, and community resources. We strive to partner with community members to provide outreach and education that reinforces our overarching goal of ending sexual violence through awareness and prevention.

What is a Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner?

A SANE is a registered nurse who has received extensive additional training in the medical forensic care of patients who present following acute episodes of sexual violence.

What is sexual assault?

Sexual assault is broadly defined as any type of sexual contact or behavior that occurs without explicit ongoing consent of a person. This includes but is not limited to rape, attempted rape, forced penetration or being forced to penetrate, forcing a person to perform sexual acts, fondling or any unwanted touching.

How to Get Help

If you have been sexually assaulted, you can go to the Emergency Department and ask about seeing a Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner.

Services Provided


  • Pregnancy testing and prevention
  • STI testing and prophylaxis
  • HIV prophylaxis
  • Vaccinations
  • Physical exam- head to toe exam to identify, document, and treat all injuries

Advocacy & Mental Health

  • Provide trained advocates from the Orange County Rape Crisis Center
  • Consult trauma specialist: a trained social worker with a specific focus in treating patients who experience trauma, particularly sexual assault, is available to speak with you and will follow up with you after discharge
  • Mental health emergency services
  • Pastoral care
  • Child Life Specialist


  • Evidence collection
  • Sexual Assault Evidence Collection Kit- A SANE will complete evidence collection during the head to toe physical exam.
  • Drug Facilitated Sexual Assault Kit- Blood and urine can be collected and sent to the state crime lab for an extensive toxicology panel to be completed.
  • Documentation
  • Reporting options
  • Full Report: A report to the law enforcement agency where the crime occurred.
  • Blind Report: no report made, victim agrees to speak with police for crime tracking purposes (not available in all jurisdictions).
  • Anonymous Report- no report made, law enforcement not involved.

Is Financial Assistance Available?

  • Rape Victims Assistance Program - RVAP is the state-run program that reimburses hospitals or community centers for forensic care and evidence collection of victims of sexual assault in North Carolina. This funding is capped and can include the following: hospital fee, provider fee, urine pregnancy test, pregnancy prevention, and certain antibiotics to treat sexually transmitted infections.
  • Crime Victim Compensation - If making a full report to law enforcement, victims may be eligible for additional funding to cover medical expenses, counseling, and lost wages not covered by insurance. Victims must apply within two years of the date of the crime to be eligible.

UNC Medical Foundation SANE Fund

Gifts to the UNC Medical Foundation SANE Fund provide essential funding to support the SANE Program’s mission to provide quality care to victims of sexual violence in our community. As a partially grant-funded program, there is continual need for financial support to sustain and expand our services. Donations go towards the following:

  • Supplies and equipment to stock our Sexual Assault Forensic Examination (SAFE) room
  • Basic necessities for vulnerable patients who have experienced sexual violence
  • Education and training for SANEs who care for victims of violence across the lifespan
  • Retention of SANEs by attempting to reduce the impacts of vicarious trauma through mentorship activities


History of UNC's SANE Program

UNC’s SANE program was established by the hard work and perseverance of two Emergency Department nurses back in 1997. Deb Flowers and Becky Wheeler took countless hours of call to show up for patients who experienced sexual assault any time of the day or night, sacrificing their personal time to serve. They advocated relentlessly within the department and throughout the hospital for an infrastructure that would better care for those same patients. We are forever grateful for their efforts and the foundation they passed down that we continue to build on to this day.

Contact Us

SANE Program Office: (984) 215-3078


Twitter: @UNCforensicRNs

Instagram: @UNCForensicNursing

These are not monitored 24 hours a day.

If you are having an emergency call 911, reach out to the local hotlines for rape crisis: (919) 967-7273 or domestic violence: (919) 929-7122 , or contact a national crisis hotline.

Community Resources

UNC Hospitals Beacon Program: family violence, child maltreatment

Orange County Rape Crisis Center

Compass Center for Women and Families- domestic violence

Infectious Disease Clinic: follow up of HIV PEP

UNC Campus Health

UNC Gender Violence Services

UNC CAPS: Counseling and Psychological Services at UNC

UNC Transgender Health Program

Meet the Team

UNC’s SANE program was started 1997 by Deb Flowers and Becky Wheeler.

Medical Director: Karen Serrano, MD

Program Coordinator: Jenny Ora Anand, RN, MPH, CEN, SANE-A, SANE-P

Pastoral Care: Rev. Tammerie Day

Director of Emergency Services: Christa Seaman, DNP, RN, NE-BC, CCRN