St. Peter’s Health in Helena is the only medical center in our tri-county area that performs examinations conducted by a trained Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner (SANE). Created in 2022, the forensic nurse program team at St. Peter’s includes a nurse coordinator and a team of nurse examiners who have received special training in trauma-informed care and evidence collection. Forensic services are available 24/7 to any Emergency Department patients who have experienced sexual violence.
SANE Response With The Friendship Center
When an ER patient has experienced sexual assault, a SANE nurse at St. Peter's contacts The Friendship Center so one of our advocates can respond and be present to support a patient's immediate emotional and safety needs while the nurse focuses on collecting evidence for the sexual assault kit and addressing medical needs.
Community Response Team
St. Peter’s Health also convenes a sexual assault response team (SART) to coordinate consistent, effective, victim-centered response to sexual violence. The team collaborates to ensure appropriate communication between various agencies to support victims and hold offenders accountable. In addition to St. Peter’s Health and The Friendship Center, the team also includes staff from law enforcement, the Child Advocacy Center, and the County Attorney's Office.
The Friendship Center is just one of many organizations in our community working to ensure everyone is supported with care and dignity.