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April-02-01

Court Tries to Limit Sexual Assault Nurse Examiners’ Testimony in Rape Trials

The weight of Sexual Assault Nurse Examiners’ (SANE) testimony in trials of rape is in question, as three judges in Virginia have ruled that SANE nurses may not draw conclusions regarding whether or not the sex that occurred was consensual or forced and may only testify about injuries noticed during sexual assault examinations. An appeals court in Pennsylvania overturned a rape conviction and ruled SANE nurses could not testify as experts in any case. Sexual Assault advocates and SANE nurses are enraged, as theses recent rulings have under cut SANE nurses credibility and expertise in rape examination, health care and human sexuality.

SANE nurses often provide crucial testimony in rape trials, using research that shows women’s bodies respond differently during consensual sex than during rape and certain injuries a victim. Nearly 500 SANE nurses programs exist across the country.

Media Resources: Washington Post – April 2, 2001

   

     

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