SAFE-T System for Local Leaders

Sexual Assault is a public health crisis. One in five women experience completed or attempted rape and nearly 25% of men experience some form of sexual violence in their lifetime.1 Marginalized groups have disproportionately higher risks of sexual assault,2-9 and the substantial short- and long-term effects of sexual trauma on health are well established.10-13 The long-term cost of experiencing sexual violence are high, as well, with an estimated burden of $3.1 trillion over the victim’s lifetime.14 Real progress requires collaborative community action. The SAFE-T program facilitated first-time collaboration at partner sites between multidisciplinary stakeholders, including law enforcement, advocacy centers, and child welfare organizations.15

Reliable Evidence for Legal Recourse

SAFE-T System strengthens forensic evidence collection and documentation by ensuring that best practices are followed. Clinicians are supported through ongoing feedback, training, and quality assurance of peer review of examinations. The SAFE-T System helps to develop competent and confident nurse examiners who can provide accurate testimony when needed.

Substantive Data for Informed Policy

Pennsylvania state law requires sexual assault care to be provided by every Emergency Room. However, there is no oversight on the content or quality of that care. Only 15% of rural Pennsylvania hospitals have an IAFN-certified SANE available to them, half of which are provided by the SAFE-T Center.16 Additionally, 27.5% of rural PA hospitals still do not have any nurses with SANE training.17

SAFE-T System provides data-driven research and real-world metrics to empower legislators to promote and pass bills that can effectively combat the disparities in sexual assault care. Fueled by recognition of national SANE shortages and interest in SAFE-T System solutions, Pennsylvania Senator Elder Vogel, Jr. sponsored Pennsylvania Senate Bill 414 to expand access to Sexual Assault Nurse Examiners and begin outlining structures to ensure standards of care. Legislative efforts are vital to improving access to quality care. SAFE-T aims to provide solutions and data that can enable policymakers to better serve their constituents through real progress toward equitable access to critical services.

1. Smith SG, Zhang X, Basile KC, et al. The national intimate partner and sexual violence survey: 2015 data brief–updated release. 2018.
2. Classen CC, Palesh OG, Aggarwal R. Sexual revictimization: A review of the empirical literature. Trauma, violence, & abuse. 2005;6(2):103-129.
3. Martin SL, et al. Women’s sexual orientations and their experiences of sexual assault before and during university. Women’s Health Issues. 2011;21(3):199-205.
4. Cantor D, Fisher B, Chibnall SH, et al. Report on the AAU campus climate survey on sexual assault and sexual misconduct. 2015.
5. Perry SW. American Indians and crime: A BJS statistical profile, 1992-2002: US Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs, Bureau of Justice …; 2004.
6. Crime and Victimization Fact Sheets. 2018.
7. Basile KC, Breiding MJ, Smith SG. Disability and risk of recent sexual violence in the United States. American journal of public health. 2016;106(5):928-933.
8. Goodman L, Fels K, Glenn C. No safe place: Sexual assault in the lives of homeless women. Retrieved June. 2006;18:2006.
9. Sexual Victimization in Prisons and Jails Reported by Inmates, 2011-12-Update. PREA Data Collection Activities.
10. Noll JG. Child sexual abuse as a unique risk factor for the development of psychopathology: the compounded convergence of mechanisms. Annual review of clinical psychology. 2021;17:439-464.
11. Ulirsch J, Ballina L, Soward A, et al. Pain and somatic symptoms are sequelae of sexual assault: results of a prospective longitudinal study. European journal of pain. 2014;18(4):559-566.
12. Breiding MJ. Prevalence and characteristics of sexual violence, stalking, and intimate partner violence victimization—National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey, United States, 2011. Morbidity and mortality weekly report. Surveillance summaries (Washington, DC: 2002). 2014;63(8):1.
13. Basile K, Grove J. Chronic Diseases, Health Conditions, and Other Impacts Associated With Rape Victimization of US Women [Slides]. 2020.
14. Peterson C, DeGue S, Florence C, Lokey CN. Lifetime economic burden of rape among US adults. American journal of preventive medicine. 2017;52(6):691-701.
15. Miyamoto et al. (2021), “SAFE-T: A…Model to Address Disparities”, Journal of Rural Health
16-17. Thiede et al. (2021), “Rural Availability of SANEs”, Journal of Rural Health

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