This is the final report following 4 years of developing and operating the SAFE-T Center, which was launched in 2017 with support from the U.S. Justice Department’s Office for Victims of Crime (OVC) as a means of improving access to high quality sexual assault (SA) care by providing expert, live, interactive mentoring, quality assurance, and evidence-based training to less experienced nurses via telehealth technology.
When a SA examination is performed at one of the partner hospitals, one of SAFE-T Center’s expert Sexual Assault Nurse Examiners (SANEs) (teleSANEs) provides real-time support to both the on-site nurse and the patient, ensuring best practices, proper evidence collection, and a supportive environment for the patient. For the current project, detailed progress reports were completed on a biannual basis throughout the funding period (2017-2021). Given the level of detail in prior progress reports, the current report focuses instead on a high-level overview of project goals, the philosophy and approach to the work in advancing goals, and key outcomes. A critical part of this effort was to determine whether the solutions envisioned and created had the positive impact intended. Much of the report addresses reflections on program effects and lessons learned. Overall, it was evident that comprehensive hubs of expertise can increase equitable access to quality SA care in a field with chronic shortages of expertise. Community partners in eight diverse and unique communities value the resources provided. Policy and legislative initiatives are needed to establish minimum standards of SA care and to provide incentives and support to ensure hospitals that are not able to offer expert comprehensive SANE-led care can provide expertise through telehealth programs.