Journal Review

Sievers V, Murphy S, Miller JJ. Sexual assault evidence collection more accurate when completed by sexual assault nurse examiners: Colorado’s experience. J Emerg Nurs 2003; 29:511-514.

Sexual assault evidence kits prepared by sexual assault nurse examiners (SANEs) are more accurate and complete, says this study from the Colorado Bureau of Investigation, based in Denver.

Researchers audited 515 evidence kits submitted from 1999 to 2002, with 279 completed by SANEs and 236 completed by non-SANE physicians and nurses. Kits collected by SANEs were more likely to have a completed chain of custody, properly sealed individual specimen envelopes, and to have collected the appropriate amount of pubic and head hair. In addition, SANEs more frequently collected the appropriate number of blood tubes, the appropriate amount of swabs, and included a vaginal fluid slide for sperm motility.

"The study provides quantitative support that the specialized education, training, and experience of SANEs will result in the improved collection of forensic evidence," wrote the researchers.