Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner Program (SANE)

Eastern Health has been providing the services of a Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner Program (SANE) since November 2005. The program is based in the Emergency Department at St. Clare’s Mercy Hospital.

The SANE Program is staffed with a team of nurses, who have advanced training and education in medical and forensic assessment of a person who has been sexually assaulted. These nurses are committed to providing compassionate, sensitive, patient centred, quality care; as well as assisting patients in making informed decisions about their care and how to move forward.

The goal of the Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner (SANE) Program is to provide options and choices about medical care and/or police reporting, provide medications to prevent infection and pregnancy, and connect patients with counseling services so they have appropriate support in moving forward if they choose to.

Intended for:

Persons who have been recently sexually assaulted and who are over the age of 18.


Emergency Department, St. Clare’s Mercy Hospital, John’s, NL.


Open 24 hours a day, seven days a week.


Emergency Department: 709–777–5502
SANE Program Office: 709–777–5865

The person who assaulted you may be a stranger, friend, partner or acquaintance. All forms of sexual assault are crimes.

What is sexual assault?

The terms ‘sexual assault’ and ‘rape’ may be used interchangeably.

Sexual assault is:

  • an act of violence or aggression involving a sexual attack either verbal, emotional or physical
  • touching in a sexual way without permission, including if you were asleep, unconscious, high or drunk
  • forced kissing or fondling
  • forced oral, anal or vaginal penetration

What to do if you are sexually assaulted?

If you or someone you know has been sexually assaulted, it’s not something you have to live with on your own. Here are some things you can do:

Ensure that you’re safe
If you’re in immediate danger, or you’re worried about your safety, call 911 or your local police immediately and try to get to somewhere safe.

Talk to someone
Tell someone you trust. Find someone you can talk to, such as a friend, family member or health-care professional.

Get medical help
If you’ve been sexually assaulted, medical support is essential. If you can, get to a hospital or medical clinic as soon as possible. Do not change your clothing, shower or bath, brush your teeth, smoke, and/or chew gum.

Trust yourself
If someone has assaulted you, you may not feel confident about what to do next. Trust your instincts. Remember that it’s never okay for someone to assault you for any reason.

What happens if you go to the hospital?

You will receive medical help after a sexual assault.

  • When you report to an emergency department, you will visit the triage desk and be asked why you have come to hospital.
  • If medically stable, the SANE team will be consulted and be at the hospital to see you as soon as possible.
  • You will be placed in a private room.
  • You can have a support person present before and during the exam.
  • If you choose, a volunteer from the Sexual Assault Crisis and Prevention Centre will be called to help support you through the exam process and provide you with important resources.
  • You will be examined and treated for any injuries from the assault.
  • Treatment with medications to prevent pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections will be addressed and provided if necessary.
  • Options of whether or not to involve police and collection of evidence will be addressed.

While at the Emergency Department

SANE offers a comfortable and safe location for patients to meet with their care team. The SANE exam room is safe and private.

Our goal is to provide you with all the information you need to make the choices that are best for you.

It is normal for you, or your loved one, to:

  • feel sad, angry or embarrassed.
  • blame yourself.
  • have changes in eating and sleeping patterns, confusion, forgetfulness and trouble concentrating.
  • have thoughts of the event, which may flood your mind at times and cause you to cry or lash out.
  • feel physically sick and experience headaches, abdominal pain, fatigue and depression.

Even if you don’t have physical injuries, it does not mean your sexual assault is any less serious.

Other helpful resources

  • NL Sexual Assault Crisis and Prevention Centre Line (24-hours):  1-800-726-2743
  • Mental Health Crisis Line:  1-888-737-4668
  • Sexual Health Centre/Planned Parenthood:  709-579-1009
  • Royal Newfoundland Constabulary (RNC) Non-Emergency:  709-729-8000
  • Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP):  1-800-709-7267
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Last updated: 2021-07-22