Sexual Assault Forensic Examiner (SAFE) Program

New York State Department of Health (DOH) has established standards to certify three distinct Sexual Assault Forensic Examiner (SAFE) Program components. Click each link below for more information and program applications.

New York State Sexual Assault Forensic Examiner (SAFE)-Designated Hospital Programs provide specialized care to sexual assault patients. Qualifying hospitals licensed under Article 28 of the Public Health Law seeking SAFE designation can apply to the Bureau of Women, Infant, and Adolescent Health (BWIAH) at any time. Once approved, a provider agreement with DOH, Division of Family Health obligates all hospitals to provide services consistent with SAFE Program requirements. SAFE hospital designation is not reviewed by the Office of Health Systems Management or added to the operating certificate but it is listed on the hospital profile.

Forms and Applications:

Note: Per Public Health Law 2805-i, every hospital in New York State is required to provide care to patients of sexual assault in the emergency department. Emergency departments are required to establish and implement policies and procedures for the treatment of rape victims; have procedures in place for contacting rape victim advocates; and, collect and maintain forensic evidence utilizing the New York State standardized evidence collection kits and procedures, including second kits for suspected drug-facilitated rape incidents, when appropriate. See below for a list of service components regarding the treatment of sexual assault patients required for all hospitals.

For a list of all New York State licensed emergency departments, visit NYS Health Profiles.

DOH-Designated SAFE Hospital Program Requirements Compared to Hospitals Without a DOH-Designated SAFE Program:

Service Component SAFE Program Non-SAFE Program
Provide timely, compassionate, victim-centered care that meets the health care needs of victims, provides emotional support and reduces further trauma to the victim. Yes Yes
Provide quality medical care to the patient who reports sexual assault, including screening, evaluation and treatment. Yes Yes
Provide services in compliance with Federal EMTALA requirements for all patients presenting for emergency care. Yes Yes
Maintain current protocols regarding the care of patients reporting sexual assault, and for the collection and storage of sexual offense evidence. Yes Yes
Advise the victim of the availability of services provided by a local rape crisis or victim assistance organization, and secure such services as requested by the patient. Yes Yes
Seek the sexual offense victim's consent for collection and storage of privileged sexual offense evidence. Yes Yes
Consistent with hospital protocols, conduct an evidentiary examination to collect and preserve evidence, in accordance with current forensic techniques. Yes Yes
Ensure the quality of the collection, documentation and preservation of sexual offense evidence. Yes Yes
Discuss with the patient the option of reporting the sexual offense to the police, and, upon the request of the patient, report event to the local law enforcement agency. Yes Yes
Promote staff opportunities for continuing education. Yes Yes
Ensure and monitor for quality, conduct ongoing review and oversight of services provided through the hospital-wide quality assurance program for quality improvement purposes. Yes Yes
Routinely use the New York State Evidence Collection Kit, if the patient consents to have evidence collected. Use the drug facilitated sexual assault kit, where appropriate. Yes Yes
Ensure that prophylaxis against pregnancy (emergency contraception) resulting from sexual assault is provided to the patient upon request without delay, unless the patient is already pregnant or the treatment is otherwise medically contraindicated. Yes Yes
Provide each patient with an appropriate and safe discharge, including: medical transfer as necessary, and necessary and appropriate follow-up care/referrals, hospital contact person to assist with release or disposal of sexual offense evidence, suitable attire, transportation or appropriate arrangement, etc., as necessary to meet patient needs. Yes Yes
Collect required data in accordance with statewide data collection activities (hospitals without SAFE programs must comply with use of e-codes in ER SPARCS data; SAFE programs must comply with all data submission requirements.) Yes Yes
Maintain a supply and provide to patients, as medically indicated, prophylaxis for sexually transmitted diseases and hepatitis B. Yes Yes
Maintain a supply of and provide an initial supply to patients, as medically indicated, of prophylaxis for HIV. Yes Yes
Establish an organized program/service specifically to carry out and oversee the provision of sexual assault services. This would include the development and implementation of policies and procedures, detailing staffing requirements, initiating and conducting community outreach programs, participating in an organized data collection system, and routinely following-up with patients/law enforcement officials and crime laboratory personnel regarding evidence collection activities. Yes Recommended
Designate a program coordinator to exercise administrative and clinical oversight for the program. Yes Recommended
Ensure that the program includes a cohort of specially trained individuals known as sexual assault forensic examiners (SAFEs). (SAFEs have been prepared through an intensive classroom and preceptor training program and have been certified by NYSDOH to conduct sexual assault exams. See SAFE Program Standards for individual providers). Yes Recommended
Establish/participate in an interdisciplinary task force that includes local Rape Crisis Programs and other service agencies, and law enforcement representatives/ local prosecutors to develop services that meet community need and to ensure that quality victim services are available. Yes Recommended
Sexual Assault Forensic Examiners on-site or on-call available to the patient within 60 minutes of arriving at the hospital, except under exigent circumstances. Yes Recommended
Maintain a designated and appropriately equipped, private room in or near the hospital's emergency department to meet the specialized needs of sexual assault patients. Accommodations must include access to a shower and be handicapped accessible. Yes Recommended
Coordinate outreach activities in the community and with other hospitals to share best practices, provide training opportunities and promote the availability of the program, to the extent feasible. Yes Recommended
Participate in regional and statewide quality assurance initiatives designed to measure program effectiveness and reporting requirements. Yes Recommended

SAFE-Designated Hospitals by County:

County Hospital Address Phone Number
Albany Albany Medical Center 43 New Scotland Ave
Albany, NY 12208
518-262-3125
Albany Memorial Hospital, St. Peter's Health Partners 600 Northern Blvd
Albany, NY 12204
518-471-3111
St. Peter's Hospital, St. Peter's Health Partners 315 S Manning Blvd
Albany, NY 12208
518-525-1550
Bronx Jacobi Medical Center, NYC Health + Hospitals Social Work Department
1400 Pelham Parkway
Room 1E4
South Bronx, NY 10467
718-918-5800
Lincoln Hospital, NYC Health + Hospitals Emergency Department
234 E. 149th Street
Bronx, NY 10451
718-579-5784
North Central Bronx Hospital, NYC Health + Hospitals Social Work Department, Room 14A03,
3424 Kossuth Avenue
Bronx, NY 10467
718-519-3013
Broome Our Lady of Lourdes Memorial Hospital 169 Riverside Drive
Binghamton, New York 13905
607-798-5231
Cattaraugus Olean General Hospital 515 Main Street
Olean, NY 14760
716-375-4149
Chautauqua UPMC Chautauqua WCA (Woman's Christian Association) Hospital 207 Foote Avenue
Jamestown, NY 14702
716-664-9398
Columbia Columbia Memorial Health 71 Prospect Avenue
Hudson, NY 12534
518-828-8500

Erie

Buffalo General Medical Center Emergency Department/SANE Office
100 High Street
Buffalo, NY 14203
716-748-2601
Erie County Medical Center 462 Grider Street
Buffalo, NY 14215
716-898-4166
Kings Coney Island Hospital, NYC Health + Hospitals Emergency Department, Room 1E8B
2601 Ocean Parkway
Brooklyn, NY 11235
718-616-4400
Kings County Hospital Center, NYC Health + Hospitals Crisis Center Room -S1N30,
451 Clarkson Avenue
Brooklyn, NY 11203
718-245-4602
Woodhull Medical Center, NYC Health + Hospitals 760 Broadway, Room 2BC-104
Brooklyn, NY 11206
718-963-8443
Monroe Rochester General Hospital, Rochester Regional Health Pediatric Emergency Department
1425 Portland Avenue
Rochester, NY 14621
585-922-2000
Strong Memorial Hospital, University of Rochester Medical Center Department of Emergency Medicine University of Rochester Medical Center Strong Memorial Hospital
601 Elmwood Avenue, Box 655
Rochester, NY 14642
585-275-7176
Nassau Nassau University Medical Center Nassau University Medical Center
2201 Hempstead Turnpike
East Meadow, NY 11554
516-296-2100
North Shore University Hospital, Northwell Health Emergency Department
300 Community Drive
Manhasset, NY 11030,
516-562-2638
New York Bellevue Hospital, NYC Health + Hospitals 462 First Avenue Room A329
New York, NY 10016
212-562-3025
Mount Sinai Beth Israel - Petrie Division Emergency Department
Milton and Caroll Petrie Division
First Avenue at 16thStreet
NY, NY 10003
212-420-2840
Lenox Health Greenwich Village, Northwell Health North Shore LIJ Health System
30 7th Avenue
New York, NY 10011
646-665-6910
Mount Sinai Hospital The SAVI Program
One Gustave L. Levy Place, Box #1670
NY, NY 10029
212-423-2140
Mount Sinai St. Luke's & Mount Sinai West Crime Victims Treatment Center
411 West 114th Street, Suite 2C
New York, NY 10025
212-523-3336, 212-523-6800
Harlem Hospital Center, NYC Health + Hospitals Emergency Department, Room 2105
506 Lenox Ave
New York, NY 10037
212-939-2250
Metropolitan Hospital Center, NYC Health + Hospitals 1901 First Avenue
Room 2A33
New York, NY 10029
212-423-6466
Columbia University Medical Center, New York Presbyterian Hospital Social Work Department
Harkness Pavilion
622 West 168th Street 2ndFloor
New York, NY 10032
212-305-6204
Weill Cornell Medical Center, New York Presbyterian Hospital 525 East 68thStreet, Box 143
New York, NY 10032
212-746-4458
Niagara Eastern Niagara Hospital 521 East Avenue
Lockport, NY 14094
716-514-5500
Onondaga St. Joseph's Hospital Health Center 301 Prospect Avenue
Syracuse, NY 13203
315-448-5101
SUNY Upstate Medical University 750 East Adams Street
Syracuse, NY 13210
315-464-5612
Ontario F. F. Thompson Hospital, University of Rochester Medical Center Emergency Department
350 Parrish Street
Canandaigua, NY 14424
585-396-6820
Orange St. Luke's Cornwall Hospital Department of Emergency Medicine
70 Dubois Street
Newburgh, NY 12550
845-568-2305
Queens Elmhurst Hospital, NYC Health + Hospitals Emergency Department,
79-01 Broadway, Room B-1-27
Elmhurst, NY 11373
718-334-3054
Queens Hospital Center, NYC Health + Hospitals 82-68 164thStreet
Jamaica, NY 11432
718-883-3090
Rensselaer Samaritan Hospital, St. Peter's Health Partners Sexual Assault and Crime Victims Assistance Program (SACVAP)
2215 Burdett Avenue
Troy, NY 12180
518-271-3424
Richmond Richmond University Medical Center Emergency Department Room 532
355 Bard Avenue
Staten Island, NY 10310
718-818-2995

St. Lawrence Canton-Potsdam Hospital Emergency Department
50 Leroy Street
Potsdam, NY 13676
315-261-5909
Claxton-Hepburn Medical Center Emergency Department
214 King Street
Ogdensburg, NY 13669
315-713-5135
Massena Memorial Hospital 1 Hospital Drive
Massena, NY 13662
(315) 764-1711
Suffolk Good Samaritan Hospital Medical Center Department of Emergency Medicine,
1000 Montauk Highway
West Islip, NY 11795
631-376-4045
Peconic Bay Medical Center, Northwell Health 1300 Roanoke Avenue
Riverhead, NY 11901
631-548-6200
Stony Brook University Hospital 101 Nicolls Road
Stony brook, NY 11794
631-638-3600
Westchester Westchester Medical Center, WMC Health 100 Woods Road
Valhalla, NY 10595
914-493-8671

SAFE training programs are essential for any DOH-designated hospital program to establish a cohort of medical professionals who are prepared to conduct sexual assault medical forensic examinations, collect and preserve evidence, and present testimony in the prosecution of sexual assault cases. A 40-hour didactic and clinical training course, which demonstrates to the Department the ability to provide training that meets the minimum standards and requirements, can provide training related to the Department's issuance of certificates of qualifications.

Forms and Applications:

Approved Sites:

Currently there are four active DOH-certified Sexual Assault Forensic Examiner (SAFE) training programs offered throughout New York State. The International Association of Forensic Nurses (IAFN) also offers a DOH-approved online training program for SAFE-A and SAFE-P. Visit IAFN for more information.

Location Training Program Contact Information
Albany Albany Medical Center Kaylin Dawson
(518) 262-6747
DawsonK@amc.edu
Manhattan New York City Alliance Against Sexual Assault Mikayla Bobrow
(212) 229-0345 x 313
mbobrow@svfreenyc.org
Troy St. Peter's Health Partners Nancy Harris
(518) 271-3157
Nancy.harris@sphp.com
Westchester Westchester Community Opportunity Program, Inc.
Victim Assistance Services
Clarissa Espinoza and
Karel Amaranth
(914) 345-3113
cespinoza@westcop.org

The initial response from health care professionals can have a profound influence on the sexual assault patient's subsequent recovery. However, treatment of sexual assault patients by health care providers and the criminal justice system has not been universally adequate. In response to a lack of consistent, adequate and sensitive care across the nation there has been an emergence of health care practitioners known as either Sexual Assault Examiners (SAE), Sexual Assault Nurse Examiners (SANE) or Sexual Assault Forensic Examiners (SAFE). The DOH recommends SAFEs/SANEs in all hospitals to provide comprehensive and high quality medical care, collection of forensic evidence, and respectful and sensitive treatment. The use of DOH-certified SAFEs is required in hospitals seeking SAFE designation.

Forms and Applications:

Additional Resources for Interested Medical Professionals and Examiners:

SAFE Program Goals:

  • Provide timely, compassionate, patient-centered care in a private setting that provides emotional support and reduces further trauma to the patient.
  • Provide quality medical care to the patient who reports sexual assault, including evaluation, treatment, referral and follow-up.
  • Ensure the quality of collection, documentation, preservation and custody of physical evidence by utilizing a trained DOH-certified sexual assault forensic examiner to perform the exam.
  • Utilize an interdisciplinary approach by working with the local rape crisis program, law enforcement, prosecutors, and other necessary serve providers to effectively meet the needs of the sexual assault victim and the community.
  • Provide expert testimony when needed if the patient chooses to report the crime to law enforcement.
  • Improve and standardize data regarding the incidence of sexual assault patients seeking treatment in hospital emergency departments.

For additional guidance on providing services to victims of sexual assault in the health care setting, refer to the U.S. Department of Justice Office on Violence Against Women "A National Protocol for Sexual Assault Medical Forensic Examinations".

Click here for more information on New York State SAFE Program standards for hospitals, trainers and examiners.

Sexual Offense Evidence Collection Kit and Drug Facilitated Sexual Assault Kit:

When a patient has been sexually assaulted, the primary focus is on assessing the immediate health care needs and secondly, the collection and preservation of evidence. The DOH, in conjunction with the New York State Division of Criminal Justice Services (DCJS) and crime labs in New York State, developed a sexual offense evidence collection kit for the collection and preservation of sexual assault forensic evidence. In addition, a Drug Facilitated Sexual Assault (DFSA) kit was developed to be used only in cases where there is a suspicion of a drug facilitated sexual assault. DFSA kits must be used in conjunction with the evidence collection kit. Evidence collection and DFSA kits are provided by DCJS at no cost to hospitals in the state. To place an order, visit DCJS.

"A Body of Evidence: Using the NYS Sexual Offense Evidence Collection Kit" produced by DCJS is a training video exclusively for medical providers on how to properly use the evidence collection kit. Find out more information about how to own a copy here.

Note: Accurately maintaining and accounting for the chain of custody of sexual offense evidence is essential for the evidence to be useful in a court of law. A patient, family member, or support person should never be left alone with evidence or ever allowed to handle or transport evidence after it has been collected. Public Health Law 2805-i provides that all sexual offense evidence shall be kept in a locked, separate and secure area for 20 years from the date of collection unless the patient directs the hospital to surrender it to the police, the patient directs the hospital to dispose of the evidence, or for certain kinds of evidence, if the police request its surrender. Hospitals are responsible for ensuring long term storage of the evidence until at least April 1, 2021. After April 1, 2021, responsibility for long-term storage of sexual offense evidence will be transferred to a new location. The DOH, OVS, DCJS, and the State Police will jointly conduct a study and develop a plan for the new location, and tracking, monitoring, and notification options. Also, between thirty and ten days prior to the transfer of evidence to the new storage location, hospitals shall make diligent efforts to notify the alleged sexual offense victim of the transfer of custody for the remainder of the 20-year storage period.

Information on Evidence Collection Kits:

Information on DFSA Kits:

Patient Consent:

The entire health care and evidentiary exam is conducted at the patient's discretion. The patient may withdraw consent at any time, or may choose to complete only certain parts of the health care exam, evidentiary exam, or health care treatment. Written, informed consent for medical care and HIV testing must be obtained. In addition, consent must be obtained for collection and storage of sexual offense evidence, including forensic photography. A signed consent for release of information and privileged evidence to law enforcement is required. The patient must also sign a release directing the hospital not to collect and keep privileged evidence, if the patient chooses not to participate in an evidentiary exam.

  • It is the consenting patient's choice whether to involve law enforcement personnel or not. However, the health care provider has a legal obligation to report injuries including gunshot wounds or other injuries arising from the discharge of a firearm, or a wound which is likely to result in death and is actually or apparently inflicted by a knife, ice pick, or other sharp instrument.
  • If a suspected sexual assault patient is unconscious, the hospital should follow established procedures for the care and treatment of the unconscious patient.
  • A mature minor who presents at a hospital emergency department may consent or may choose not to consent, without parental involvement, to a forensic exam, in the course of post-sexual assault care.

Reimbursement for Services Provided to Sexual Assault Patients:

New York State law provides for direct reimbursement to providers of forensic health care examination services. Reimbursement provides for the personal privacy of sexual assault patients and ensures that survivors are not billed for any forensic health care examination services, including a seven-day starter pack of HIV post-exposure prophylaxis. To obtain a Forensic Rape Examination (FRE) claim application or more information, visit the Office of Victim Services (OVS).

Post Exposure Prophylaxis (PEP):

Forced sexual contact may result in pregnancy or exposure to human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), hepatitis, and sexually transmitted infections (STIs). Proper care should be provided immediately.

Care for Suspected Child Abuse Patients:

Most sexually abused children who do not present with emergent medical conditions can be scheduled with an appointment at a Child Advocacy Center (CAC) or with a medical provider. However, all children who are suspected of being sexually abused should have the opportunity for a medical evaluation and timely collection of forensic evidence by a Child Abuse Medical Provider (CHAMP), SAFE-P, certified child abuse pediatrician, or a pediatric examiner.

  • If there is reasonable cause to suspect a child has been sexually abused or maltreated by a parent, guardian, custodian, or other person over the age of 18 legally responsible for the child, a report must be called into 1-800-342-3720.For more information, please visit OCFS Child Protective Services.
  • CHAMP is a statewide network of medical providers specially trained to examine pediatric patients suspected of being sexually abuse. The CHAMP Program offers education to eligible pediatric practitioners to become CHAMP members and continuing internet-based education. To find out more, visit their website here.
  • CAC's specialize in child sexual abuse by building upon a multidisciplinary team approach to provide investigations, evaluations, treatment and prosecution services for child sexual abuse patients. For more information, visit New York State Children's Alliance here.

For additional guidance on pediatric sexual assault patients, refer to the U.S. Department of Justice Office on Violence Against Women'sA National Protocol for Sexual Assault Medical Forensic Examinations Pediatric".

Rape Crisis or Victim Assistance Advocate:

The DOH has established standards for rape crisis programs to train rape crisis or victim assistance advocates. Advocates who complete the training can, by law, provide confidential services to sexual assault patients. Hospital personnel shall advise sexual assault patients of the availability of services from a local rape crisis program, if any, to accompany the patient through the medical-forensic exam. If the patient wishes the presence of an advocate, the hospital shall contact the appropriate organization and request that one be provided.

  • For a list of rape crisis programs in your community, click here.

Sexual Assault Response Team (SART):

A goal of the DOH's SAFE Program is to utilize an interdisciplinary approach by working with the local rape crisis program, law enforcement, prosecutors, hospitals, and other necessary serve providers to effectively meet the needs of the sexual assault victim and the community. SARTs help to achieve this goal by bringing parties together on a regular basis. For more information please visit the Office of Justice Programs SART Toolkit.

Department of Health SAFE Program Contact Information:

  • New York State Department of Health, Division of Family Health
    Bureau of Women, Infant, and Adolescent Health
    Empire State Plaza - Corning Tower, Room 821
    Albany, New York 12237
    (518)-474-0535
    rcprpt@health.ny.gov*

* Note: This shared mailbox is only monitored by Sexual Violence Prevention Program staff from 8:00 am to 5:00 pm Monday through Friday and is intended for non-emergency purposes. If you are someone who has been sexually assaulted and you are seeking immediate assistance, please contact the New York State Hotline for Sexual Assault and Domestic Violence at 1-800-942-6906. If it is an emergency, contact 911.

Relevant Laws and Regulations

Online Resources

New York State Organizations:

National Organizations

Tools and Guidance Documents: