Seeking Healing and Truth: Evidence shows Avalon Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner Program has a Positive Impact on Sexual Assault Criminal Justice Outcomes



According to participants in The Avalon SANE Program Evaluation Report: Seeking Healing and Truth – Criminal Justice, Community, and Victim Outcomes, the Avalon SANE Program makes a significant contribution to effectiveness and efficiencies in Emergency Departments, the continuum of services for victims, criminal justice process outcomes, and the coordinated community response to sexualized violence.   “Results from the evaluation highlight the value of the Program as it provides trauma-informed care to patients as well as specialized medical, emotional, and forensic support.” Indicates Susan Wilson, Coordinator of the Avalon SANE Program. ”The SANE program is integral to ensuring improved outcomes for individuals accessing early supports and interventions”.


The report, funded by the Department of Justice Canada’s Victim’s Fund, investigated the effects of the SANE Program on criminal justice, community and victim outcomes. “The report reinforces that the current Criminal Justice System is not compatible with the way women and other people who are sexually victimized experience and process trauma,” notes Avalon Sexual Assault Centre Executive Director, Jackie Stevens.


Report findings include:


  • SANE program enables victims to better transition to follow-up services and the police investigation
  • SANEs’ trauma informed practice starts the investigation off well and assists in the overall investigation because victims are less traumatized
  • Despite low conviction rates, the SANE Program impacted positively on the SANE cases that progressed through the criminal justice system
  • SANE related cases that proceed to court involved more incarcerations and longer sentences than non-SANE cases
  • SANE evidence was a factor in the majority of Dangerous Offender cases within the ten year study


The report also provides recommendations to improve collaboration and response.  The SANE evaluation not only is relevant locally and provincially but has far reaching impacts.  Susan Wilson is presenting the research at the International Association of Forensic Nurses conference at the end of September and the End Violence Against Women International in 2017.



For more information about the Avalon SANE program, please visit

For the SANE evaluation summary report please click on the link below: