SANE program expands in Madison County

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With the announcement on Tuesday of a second site at Oneida Healthcare in the city of Oneida, Madison County’s Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner (SANE) program has expanded to provide services 24 hours a day, 365 days a year countywide. Colgate University students and county residents now have around-the-clock access to the innovative, survivor-focused system, as well as options in where to obtain care.

The first of its kind in New York State, the coordinated program connects sexual assault and abuse survivors to “not only short-term services but also the longer-term services that they need to heal and survive and thrive,” said Liberty Resources Divisional Director Sara Haag. Administered by the Liberty Resources Help Restore Hope Center, the program was created in 2017 through their collaboration with Colgate University and Community Memorial Hospital in Hamilton.

The SANE program provides specially trained RN examiners and coordinated advocacy services to deliver personalized care. 

“It is critical that a survivor receive specialized medical care and counseling to minimize psychological trauma, and to preserve physical evidence,” said Jodi Brandis, Oneida Healthcare Emergency Room nurse and SANE Coordinator. “Our mission is to provide compassionate and highly skilled care. We work with Liberty Resources advocates side by side to provide holistic care for somebody going through such a traumatic event.”

“Women and men who have been sexually assaulted have had a life-changing experience. Through this service, they receive a thorough, competent, and caring evaluation,” said Dr. Merrill Miller, Colgate director of student health services. “This is for the entire community, not just for Colgate students. The nurses are available day and night to meet someone at either Community Memorial Hospital or Oneida Healthcare’s emergency rooms. They are guardian angels in times of distress, and we remain grateful to them.”

“In addition to supporting the 24/7 SANE program, Colgate supports survivors and addresses sexual assault in collaboration with both on- and off-campus colleagues,” said Dawn LaFrance, who directs counseling and psychological services and sexual violence support at Colgate. In addition to trauma-informed care, she said, Colgate’s Haven staff offers educational programming. For example, before arriving at Colgate, incoming first-year students complete an online training program. 

This year, said LaFrance, “We will also work through the Residential Commons Program to extend orientation into the living areas for deeper discussions about respect, consent, and cultural impacts on sexual violence. Students involved in the Haven Ambassador initiative will assist with this important work alongside Haven staff.”

    •    Haven: Sexual Violence Survivor Support at Colgate

    •    Report an Incidence of Sexual Violence
    •    To access Madison County SANE services, call Help Restore Hope Center’s hotline at 1-855-966-9723 or go directly to the emergency room at Community Memorial in Hamilton or Oneida Healthcare in Oneida.