Forensic Nurse Examiner/Sexual Assault Response Team
In 2001, N.J.S.A. 52:4B-50, et. seq., was passed providing for the establishment of a statewide Forensic Nurse Examiner/Sexual Assault Response Team (FNE/SART) program and requiring each county prosecutor to appoint or designate a certified sexual assault nurse examiner to serve as program coordinator for that county. The Standards for the programs are outlined in "The Standards for Providing Services to Survivors of Sexual Assault" which were promulgated by the Attorney General’s Office in August of 1998 and the third edition of the Standards was released in November 2018. The program is active in all 21 counties in New Jersey and has been providing services in Passaic County since 2003.
The FNE/SART program utilizes a victim-centered approach in caring for the victims of sexual assault. The program maintains a focus on the needs and concerns of the sexual assault victim to ensure the compassionate and sensitive delivery of services in a non-judgmental manner.
Once a victim makes a report of a sexual assault, the SART is activated. The team consists of a trained law enforcement officer, a confidential sexual violence advocate (CSVA) and a forensic nurse examiner (FNE). The FNE is a registered nurse (RN) that has demonstrated competence in conducting a sexual assault medical forensic examination and has been certified by the New Jersey Board of Nursing as a Forensic Nurse-Certified Sexual Assault. The CSVA has completed the Sexual Violence Advocacy Training. The victim is interviewed by the police officer, afforded counseling, support and social services by the advocate, and forensic medical exam is conducted by the FNE to identify injury, provide treatment and collection of evidence. SART is on-call 24-hours a day and respond to Saint Joseph University Medical Center in Paterson, Saint Mary’s Hospital in Passaic and Chilton Medical Center in Pompton Plains. The FNE/SART Coordinator ensures cooperation between law enforcement agencies, hospitals and advocates and FNEs in Passaic County.
The Passaic County Prosecutor’s Office receives a grant from the State Office of Victim Witness Advocacy each year to maintain the FNE/SART program in Passaic County.