Domestic Violence Exams AT WRC

In 2017 the Women’s Resource Center Rape Crisis Center expanded their services to include forensic medical exams for victims of domestic violence. Domestic Violence Forensic Medical exams are provided at the Rape Crisis Center by the Sexual Assault Nurse Examiners who have received additional training on domestic violence dynamics, injuries and specific medical concerns due to the domestic violence that may need to be addressed. At the Rape Crisis Center we have both Sexual Assault Nurse Examiners (SANE) and Domestic Violence Nurse Examiners (DVNE).

In general, there are two types of domestic violence exams. The first type of exam is an exam for a victim of domestic violence with no sexual assault disclosed and the second type of exam is domestic violence with sexual assault used as part of the coercive, controlling, and violent behavior.

If an individual calls the hotline and requests a sexual assault exam, that is the type of exam that we will have an Advocate and SANE respond to. Before the actual exam begins the Advocate will spend time talking with the person about the exam process and listen to what they need. During that conversation the Advocate may discover that the perpetrator was an ex-boyfriend/girlfriend, intimate partner or spouse. At that point, the SANE will combine the sexual assault exam and the domestic violence exam. One of the differences in the exams is how the information and evidence is collected. The additional services provided will be adjusted to fit their particular situation. One of the steps of the DV exam is a narrative that includes the history of domestic violence, their home life including safety concerns, who is present in the home, was there strangulation, and do they have a safe place to stay. As mandatory reporters, the DVNE may need to report the abuse to DHS if there were children in the home or vulnerable adults. The DVNE will speak with you prior to making that call.

Both exams may include a head-to-toe examination, documentation of injuries, pictures of injuries (with your consent), and your narrative of what has occurred. Advocates are present to provide support, danger assessment, safety planning, and will facilitate getting you to a safe place if you are unable to return to your home.  

The DVNE and SANE are available for follow-up questions and can provide expert testimony should your case go to court.

If you would like to speak with the SANE Coordinator or Assistant SANE Coordinator, call 405-701-5550.