ACC-SANE: A Great Resource in Our Community
Nov 8, 2010 by Sarah Chatfield
Do you know about ACC-SANE? If not, it is my hope that after reading this article you will be educated about this unique and wonderful program in our community. ACC-SANE is the acronym for the Athens-Clarke County Sexual Assault Nurse Examiners program, which provides free evidence-gathering services to victims soon after a sexual assault. This program is vital to everyone in and around our community.
ACC-SANE began in 1995 thanks to the efforts of a handful of very special and dedicated people. Their mission statement reads: The purpose of the Athens-Clarke County Sexual Assault Nurse Examiners Program is to provide victim forensic examinations and evidence collection, court testimony, and community prevention education related to the rape and sexual assault of children, adolescents, and adults in our community. SANEs are registered nurses who have completed specialized training in the evaluation and forensic examination of survivors, and they work as independent contractors who cover every hour of every day. So far this year SANEs have examined 66 survivors of sexual assault.
Equally as unique and wonderful as the SANE program is the space within it operates. The Family Protection Center (FPC) was built in 2006, and the majority of the exams take place here. The FPC is a “victim services building”, the only facility of its kind in Georgia and one of few in the country. Most SANE programs operate out of hospitals, which are typically more chaotic and uncomfortable environments. The FPC space is just the opposite; it is a more comfortable, private, and non-stressful setting for the survivors and any support people that may accompany them. There is a private bathroom with a shower and a change of clothes provided for survivors, if needed. Survivors are also given the option to receive medications for STD prevention and pregnancy prevention, also at no cost to them. This is a great relief to many survivors.
ACC-SANE works collaboratively with law enforcement, the Department of Family and Children Services, the District Attorney’s Office, Project Safe, The Cottage and other children’s advocacy centers. They are a non-profit 501c3 governed by a board of directors. The SANE program is operated under an extremely tight and under-funded budget. It receives funding from grants and the Athens-Clarke County Police Department and also relies on donations.
Working as the Adult Advocate at The Cottage Sexual Assault Center and Children’s Advocacy Center has given me an intimate view of the ACC-SANE program. I’ve collaborated closely with this amazing group of nurses for the three years that I’ve held this position. But most importantly, I know that survivors in our community—-both those seen in the past and those we will unfortunately see in the future—- are fortunate to have this resource available to them. I know what a blessing ACC-SANE is, and I want our community to know as well. If you feel moved to make a contribution, please send money to ACC-SANE, Inc., The Family Protection Center, 3035 Lexington Road, Athens, Georgia, 30605.