In the fall of 1994, two local emergency room nurses attended the 2nd annual International Association of Forensic Nurses Conference in Virginia. It was there that they learned of the emerging specialty of Forensic Nursing. While many areas within the field were presented, it was the specialty practice of Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner (SANE) that was the most intriguing to them and the specific multi-disciplinary team concept of a Sexual Assault Response Team (SART) that was brought back to Indiana. In the months that followed it became clear that many members of the community shared the common goal of providing the best medical forensic care to victims of sexual assault and on January 29, 1996 the doors to the Fort Wayne Sexual Assault Treatment Center were opened.
Not only was the Fort Wayne Sexual Assault Treatment center the first of its kind in Indiana, it was one of only 20 in the United States. In its first year of operation, the SATC provided care to 123 adults and adolescents in and around Allen County who chose to report their crime of sexual assault. In June of 2000 services were expanded to provide the same comprehensive care to children. Early on our Forensic Nurses were pioneers in training and helping to establish other SART/SANE programs throughout the United States. Additionally, our nurses worked with different agencies at a local, regional and state level to provide the medical expertise necessary to implement best forensic practice in areas of legislation, guidelines, policies, evidence collection, and healthcare. Today, there are over 700 sexual assault treatment centers in the United States, Canada, and Australia. Our patients have increased three-fold and the Fort Wayne Sexual Assault Treatment Center continues to be one of the leading healthcare providers and educators for treating victims of sexual assault. We are forensic nurses making a difference!