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SANE nurses coming to the Copper Country

January 5, 2024 | By Emilie Jacques

Sexual Assault Nurse Examiners (SANE nurses) play an important role in the evidence collection process of victims of sexual assault, abuse and rape. Their job is to conduct sexual assault medical forensic exams for a victim after a sexual assault has occurred, and provide court testimony. Being a SANE nurse is a complex job that blends comprehensive, compassionate care with a specialized eye for gathering medical information.  

“Victims should know that they have control of every part of the exam because they just came out of a situation where they had their control taken away from them,”  said Loraine Hanover soon-to-be SANE nurse.  "We let them know what their choices are and how we can help them."SANE nurses

Due to the extensive required training and emotionally fatiguing nature of the job, there is a severe shortage of SANE nurses in every community. Globally there are only 2,135 certified SANE nurses. Soon, Copper Shores will have not one or two, but three SANE nurses on its Victim Support team. Hanover (pictured left) and fellow nurse Carey Sullivan (pictured right) are currently undergoing the training process to work in the Copper Country. They'll be joining Melissa Helppi, who is already certified and serving the Copper Country community. 

“The SANE program will create a safer community for everyone,” said Copper Shores Victim Support Advocate Paige Setter-Hallwachs. ”When bad things happen, it’s important to have a response that will minimize the trauma effect and help the survivor access resources to get on a path to healing.”

Though healthcare professionals are obligated to help all patients, sexual assault medical forensic exams can be particularly difficult for patients not only physically, but mentally. SANE nurses are specifically trained to carry out this procedure with both physical and mental trauma in mind.

“Per the state of Michigan, healthcare providers must offer the exam to any person indicating that they have been sexually assaulted in the previous 120 hours,” said Setter-Hallwachs. ”That being said, a lot of medical providers do not learn about SANE or sexual assault exam kits during their schooling so having specialized professionals will greatly help the hospitals and the criminal justice system."

All three nurses are long-time residents of the Copper Country, and they look forward to being able to give back to the community when people need it most. Their SANE training should be completed in February, after nearly a year of hard work. 

If you are a victim of sexual abuse or sexual assault, contact the Copper Shores crisis line via phone at 1 (800) 562-7622 or via text to 1 (906) 356-3337. A member of Copper Shores Victim Support will be in contact with you and help you set up an exam. Learn more about Copper Shores Victim Support at

Loraine Hanover - Featured Image

Loraine Hanover

Melissa Helppi - Featured Image

Melissa Helppi

Carey Sullivan - Featured Image

Carey Sullivan

Emilie Jacques

Emilie Jacques

"I graduated from Michigan Tech with a B.S. in Psychology, a minor in Communication Studies, and a minor in Media Production. I love the outdoors and DnD." You can reach Emilie at