Metro Centers for Community Advocacy, a non -profit organization providing free and confidential services to survivors of sexual trauma in St Tammany Parish, is extremely concerned and vehemently opposed to the decision made by the St. Tammany Parish Coroner, Christopher Tape, to eliminate the Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner (SANE) program in its entirety within his office.

SANE Nurses are registered or advanced practice nurses who receive specific education and clinical training to provide comprehensive healthcare and evidence collection to sexual assault patients.

St. Tammany Parish Coroner, Christopher Tate, abruptly made the decision to end the Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner (SANE) program effective today, his first day in office.

The Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner (SANE) program has provided specialized health care to survivors of sexual assaults in St. Tammany, Livingston, St. Helena, Tangipahoa, and Washington parishes. The nurses are specifically trained in evidence collection, are crucial for the prosecution of sexual assault crimes, and are considered expert witness’s in sexual assault trials.

The rural hospitals don’t have access to a SANE nurse without having the team at the St. Tammany Coroner’s Office, thus leaving survivors underserved. This will jeopardize every sexual assault case.

SANEs provide essential, survivor-centered care to ensure that sexual assault victims who choose to receive forensic exams are treated with dignity and compassion, and that vital evidence is collected in a way that meets national standards.

Ending this program will compromise access to quality medical care and robust evidence collection throughout the region.

Metro Centers strongly urges the St. Tammany Parish Coroner, Christopher Tape, to re-think his uninformed, negligent decision and reinstate this program immediately. Metro Centers is urging community members, advocates, and elected officials to join us in demanding the preservation of the SANE program.

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