Last week, Avalon SANE Coordinator, Susan Wilson spoke with the Chronicle Herald about Avalon Centre’s community based SANE model.  Nova Scotia is the only Province in Canada that has community based SANE programs (in HRM and in Antigonish) that are trauma informed.  The Avalon SANE program has one of the highest retention rate of nurses in Canada, ensuring that we always have a steady roster of on call nurses who are highly trained and ready to respond.

The Avalon SANE Program responds up to five days to all genders, all ages after an immediate sexual assault. Response is provided within one hour of the call. SANEs provide emotional support, non-judgmental and confidential information about options, medical follow-up and/or forensic evidence collection that can be frozen up to six months. SANEs also provide supportive referral to other appropriate services and link people to other Avalon programs. Support is based on the wants/needs/choice of the individual; there is no obligation or pressure to proceed with an examination or investigation.

You can access the SANE Program by going to the emergency departments of the IWK, QEll, Dartmouth General, or the Cobequid Health Centre and asking for a SANE nurse. You can also call the SANE Response Line 902 425-0122 and the answering service will take your contact information and have the on-call SANE nurse call you back.

Prior to the Avalon SANE Program attempts at hospital SANE Programs were not successful and immediate response after sexual assault was limited.  On average, Avalon provides direct response regarding immediate sexual assaults to over 200 people a year through the SANE Program.  Client evaluations highly rate the response and support provided by the nurses. According to one woman: “This is an essential program! The (SANEs) are extraordinary, compassionate individuals and I feel heard as well as medically supported”.

The community based SANE Programs offered by Avalon Centre and The Antigonish Women’s Resource Centre and Sexual Assault Services Association are successful models of trauma informed, client centered, collaborative community response to sexualized violence and abuse.   As the Provincial Government moves forward with implementing two additional SANE Programs in Nova Scotia it is Avalon’s hope that they implement community SANE Programs consistent with the standards of practise already in place through the existing SANE Programs.

Read the article here.