The SANE Initiative

The SANE Initiative is proud to announce the opening of The Methodist Dallas SANE Program at Methodist Dallas Medical Center.

At a packed press conference on January 23, 2014 Dallas Police Chief David Brown and District Attorney Craig Watkins joined The SANE Initiative to celebrate the opening of the first ever Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner (SANE) Program in South Dallas at Methodist Dallas Medical Center, which will offer compassionate, comprehensive medical and forensic care to victims of sexual assault. This is the first such facility in South Dallas and only the second of its kind in Dallas County.
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Making South Dallas “SANE”

The Methodist Dallas SANE Program brings desperately needed sexual assault crisis services to the area of Dallas where they are needed most, providing support and compassion for victims while also increasing the reporting and prosecution of this crime. Sexual violence is one of the most pervasive crimes in our nation transcending every boundary in our society and desolating the lives of children, teenagers, and adults alike; it is a crime that is rarely reported, a crime where victims are often shamed. SBDB created The SANE Initiative as part of its commitment to making Dallas America’s safest city with a mission to expand desperately needed sexual assault services in our community. According to The SANE Initiative’s Executive Director, Courtney Underwood, named “the Dallas area’s most prominent advocate for sex crime victims” by the Dallas Morning News, “This marks the first time in the history of Dallas that rape kits are available in South Dallas.”

The meeting closed with the following statement made this week by President of the United States Barrack Obama: “We need to keep saying to anyone out there who has ever been assaulted, you are not alone, you will never be alone, we have your back, I’ve got your back, and I promise I will keep fighting for you and your families, and I’m going to keep pushing for others to step up.”

Recent News:

SANE Initiative Executive Director: Courtney Underwood

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“Courtney Underwood, the Dallas area’s most prominent advocate for sex crime victims”
– The Dallas Morning News

[ view Courtney’s Bio ]

The SANE Initiative’s Mission: Making Dallas “SANE” One Hospital at a Time

Sexual assault victims walk into a hospital terrorized, traumatized and desperate for help and support. When victims are turned away, it makes the already daunting and terrifying road ahead seem insurmountable. Many give up, never reporting their assault, and while they suffer, sexual predators remain free to prey on other innocent victims in our community. At SDBD we believe that this dangerous gap in services is unacceptable; Dallas county victims deserve safe, accessible and convenient services in addition to the best available care when it comes to medical treatment and forensic evidence collection; every neighborhood and community deserves a hospital in their area offering rape kits and sexual assault crisis services. Presently, every Dallas County city except Dallas lacks even one hospital providing rape kits.

The SDBD SANE Initiative is working to develop and establish urgently needed SANE Programs in more hospitals throughout Dallas County while also creating an integrated system between Emergency Rooms, making patient referral to SANE Programs seamless, supportive and efficient. It is imperative that sexual assault services be accessible and convenient for victims, both for their sake and for the sake of our community.

Methodist Dallas SANE

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The Methodist Dallas SANE Program provides 24/7 rapid response with compassionate, confidential care and forensic examinations for sexual assault victims 14 and older by certified Sexual Assault Nurse Examiners (SANEs). The opening of The Methodist Dallas SANE Program is a huge advancement in bridging what has long been a dangerous gap in services. “For the first time in Dallas’s history rape kits are available in South Dallas and are being performed by highly trained Methodist SANEs who provide immediate and compassionate medical care in addition to the most advanced level of forensic evidence collection skills in the nation,” says Underwood. The Methodist Dallas SANE Program brings desperately needed sexual assault crisis services to the area of Dallas where they are needed most, providing support and compassion for victims while also increasing the reporting and prosecution of this crime. All Methodist SANE exams will be performed at no cost to the victim, and victims and their friends and family will also receive on-site support and advocacy services from The Turning Point as well as access to additional long term advocacy and counseling services. The Turning Point’s mission is to provide counseling, education, and advocacy for those impacted by sexual assault. All of which are free to both survivors and their friends and family members.

[ LEARN MORE ]

Sexual Assault in America: 22 Million American Women, 1.6 Million American Men

January of 2014 now marks a special month for sexual assault survivors in Dallas and in our nation; on January 23, 2014 we had the opportunity to highlight The Methodist Dallas SANE Program and the transformative impact it will have on our community; on January 22, 2014, the President of United States began taking active steps to confront the fact that and 22 Million American women and 1.6 million American men have been sexually assaulted and as a nation we must begin to confront this vicious crime; the White House’s Call To Action points out it, “it is a crime; it is not a misunderstanding, not a private matter, not anyone’s right or any woman’s fault.” Twice as many women are sexually assaulted as are diagnosed with breast cancer, but we still live in a society where shame and victim blaming brutally silence survivors of rape. “Even our president is calling for a change in paradigm when it comes to sexual assault, a redefinition of the social norms that blame victims; he says we have a national obligation to reach out to all the victims who remain in the shadows, as he demands that we stop blaming victims for these crimes,” says Underwood.

Sexual Assault is the most under reported crime in our nation with fewer than 18% of sexual assaults ever being reported; it is also an issue ravaging our young leaders, which was illustrated in President Obama’s address and the signing of a presidential memorandum creating a task force to confront the fact that one out of every five female college students will be sexually assaulted during her college career and fewer than 12% will ever report. Moreover, campus assailants are typically serial rapists; one study found that of college men who admitted to committing rape or attempted rape, 63% said they committed an average of six rapes.

[ A Renewed Call to Action: LEARN MORE ]

The SANE Initiative and Senate Bill 1191

In addition to expanding SANE services in our community, The SANE Initiative is also actively working to create a system where no rape victim is every turned away from another emergency room. While we believe every hospital should be equipped with SANEs, something had to be done in the interim to address the fact that in Texas the community response to victims was failing miserably.

Courtney Underwood had the opportunity to work with Senator Wendy Davis on Senate Bill 1191, termed the Rape Exam Law, which was signed into law by Governor Perry and went into effect September 1 of 2013. This transformative new law requires every hospital in the state of Texas with an emergency room to begin performing rape kits when a victim does not want to be transferred to another location. The SANE Initiative has partnered with The Dallas Fort Worth Hospital Council to provide educational forums to educate hospital executives and administrators on this new law. We are so grateful to Steve Love, President and CEO of The DFW Hospital Council for his partnership, as we know that education and understanding are key to the effective implementation of this law.

The SANE Initiative and Safer Dallas would like to honor and thank the special foundations who have made The SANE Initiative and the Methodist Dallas SANE Program possible

The SANE Initiative, Methodist Dallas Medical Center, and The Methodist Health System Foundation would like express our extreme gratitude and appreciation to The Hoblitzelle Foundation, The Dallas Foundation, The Dallas Women’s Foundation and The Mike & Mary Terry Family Foundation for their support which has made the opening of The Methodist Dallas SANE Program possible.

“We would like to honor each and every one of these foundations for their special inaugural gifts to this new program; by being the first foundations to support and endorse this program, their partnership plays an extremely important role; they are the reason that we can offer these services to those who need them most in our community,” Courtney Underwood.

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Safer Dallas Better Dallas and Texas Health Presbyterian Dallas SANE

As one the original supporters of Texas Health Presbyterian Dallas SANE, SDBD knows the incredible and transformative impact that a SANE Program can have in our city and county. Within four months of Texas Health Presbyterian Dallas SANE opening its doors, reporting in Dallas increased by 25%. We know that as SANEs are made available and accessible throughout Dallas County more victims will report and more rape kits will be performed. Moreover, victims will not only be provided the medical and forensic services that they desperately need, but they will also find the compassion and support services necessary to help them take the first few steps down the journey ahead towards healing.

The SANE Initiative and Texas Health Resource are working together to take SANE system-wide at Texas Health Resources hospitals. As the only Dallas hospital with a SANE Program, THR has shown their dedication to provide the services that our community needs, with healing hands and caring hearts, regardless of the cost. The SANE Initiative solutes THR in their success in taking the best national program for providing sexual assault crisis services and improving it in our city. We are thrilled to partner with them as we transform the issue and handling of sexual assault in the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex, and as work together to create a national road map for other cities and counties across the country to follow.


Dallas Police Chief, David Brown, speaks about the importance of expanding the SANE program

Local Dallas Resources:
– Texas Health Presbyterian SANE [ website ]
– Dallas Area Rape Crisis Center (DARCC) [ website ]
– Brighter Tomorrow [ website ]
– RAINN: Rape, Abuse, & Incest National Network [ website ]
– The Family Place [ website ]
– Genesis Women’s Shelter [ website ]
– The Turning Point [ website ]

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