ALAMOSA — Tu Casa, Inc. is proud to announce the addition of the Tu Casa SANE Program. This year, Tu Casa, Inc. was given the opportunity to house the adult SANE services for the entire San Luis Valley.
SANE stands for Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner and its purpose is to provide medical exams and DNA evidence collection for survivors-victims of sexual assault. Anyone who provides SANE services must obtain and maintain a special certification.
Tu Casa, Inc. accepted the opportunity knowing that without these vital services anyone who experienced a sexual assault or sexual abuse would have to be referred to Pueblo or Salida. These additional services were a welcomed addition to the continued services provided within the existing pediatric SANE program that was part of the Children’s Advocacy Center of the San Luis Valley (SLV CAC).
There is currently one nurse, Sarah Herrera, who is available to perform exams at all times, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Tu Casa, Inc. is so proud to have Herrera on its team. She is a compassionate provider who wants the people she examines to feel safe, supported, and heard.
The program recently welcomed Dr. Patrick Thompson as well. Dr. Thompson will lend his medical expertise as needed or requested. Dr. Thompson will serve as the medical advisor to the program and oversee any orders required for care. He will also participate in peer review for quality assurance.
The program provides exams to acutely assaulted victims of sexual abuse as well as “wellness exams” for children with a history of sexual abuse. Acute exams are scheduled within 96 hours of an assault, while wellness exams are scheduled around forensic interviews, family advocacy, and the convenience of the family.
Wellness exams are a valuable service because research has shown that there are physiological benefits to a child who hears from a medical professional that there is nothing physically wrong with their body.
This program relies heavily on the support of local law enforcement not only to refer people, but to assist with security as needed. Wellness exams are offered to every child who is referred to the SLV CAC regardless of if there is a disclosure of sexual abuse.
The SLV CAC first started providing sexual assault exams in 2014, primarily to children (0- 17) and adults with disabilities. In June of 2021, Tu Casa, Inc. started offering services for adult survivors/victims as well and has provided 10 adult SANE exams.
All pediatric SANE exams require referrals from law enforcement agencies and or the Department of Human Services. Adult SANE exams do not require a referral from anyone.
Anyone who has experienced a sexual assault can call the hotline and request the service. The services of the SANE program are one part of an integrated system that involves other agencies (i.e.: law enforcement, child welfare, the San Luis Valley Behavioral Health Group, The SLV Immigrant Resource Center, and the District Attorney’s Office) to provide a multidisciplinary approach to care and investigation.
A focus on the health and wellness of the victim is the number one priority for the Tu Casa, Inc. SANE Program. Tu Casa, Inc. offers a 24/7 hotline, 719-589-2465. An advocate will answer and reach out to the necessary resources in the event of sexual assault or child sexual abuse.
Tu Casa, Inc. is here to serve people who have experienced sexual assault and child sexual abuse. All services offered at Tu Casa, Inc. are free to anyone who has experienced domestic violence, sexual assault, child sexual abuse, stalking, and human trafficking. If you are a nurse and have an interest in becoming a certified SANE, contact Theresa Ortega at 719-589-2465.