Our Programs

DCFNE provides 24/7 forensic nursing care to victims of sexual assault and domestic violence. All of DCFNE’s services are provided at no cost to our patients and available regardless of sex, gender, income level, disability, or immigration status. No patient is required to make a report to law enforcement.

DCFNE is the sole provider of forensic nursing care for adult victims of sexual assault in the District and one of only two programs that serves adolescent victims. DCFNE is a member of the DC Sexual Assault Response Team (SART) and collaborates with other providers to ensure that victims of sexual assault receive the highest quality of care in the District of Columbia.


Sexual Assault: DC SANE Program

DCFNE partners with the Network for Victim Recovery of DC to ensure that every patient is offered an advocate during their exam. As a partner in the DC Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner (SANE) Program, DCFNE’s on-call nurses evaluate every patient who presents to any DC hospital for a medical forensic exam following a sexual assault.

Our nurses are qualified to care for all victims of sexual assault aged 13 and older. DCFNE's sexual assault program is hosted at MedStar Washington Hospital Center (MWHC). As a partner in the DC SANE Program, MWHC provides DCFNE with a dedicated exam room where our patients can receive care in a private, comfortable setting. For patients who are unable to come to us at MWHC, due to injury or other circumstances, DCFNE nurses are able to travel to any hospital in the District and conduct an exam where the patient is.

The forensic nurse:

  • Conducts a head-to-toe medical examination and assessment.

  • Documents and photographs the patient’s injuries, and collects physical evidence.

  • Screens all patients for drug-facilitated sexual assault and, when indicated, collects specimens for toxicology testing by the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner.

  • Provides medication to address sexually transmitted infections, HIV, and pregnancy prevention, as well as, medical and social services referrals.

Following the exam, DCFNE’s nurses ensure that all evidence is transferred to law enforcement, maintaining proper chain of custody. For cases without a law enforcement report, DCFNE stores any evidence for one year following the exam.

Domestic Violence Program

The domestic violence program serves survivors of intimate partner violence and adult family violence. DCFNE is the only provider in the District that offers forensic exams for victims of domestic violence. DCFNE collaborates with other organizations that offer domestic violence services to ensure that their clients are aware of benefits of a forensic exam and how to access DCFNE's services.

DCFNE’s on-call nurses are available to meet patients at our MWHC exam room or, for patients whose injuries are severe, at any hospital in the District. For individuals who do not require medical attention, DCFNE also offers exams at our Forensic Nursing Clinic during regular business hours.

DCFNE’s nurses can provide exams to victims of intimate partner violence aged 12 and older. For family violence patients, DCFNE can provide exams to victims aged 18 and older.

The forensic nurse:

  • Conducts a head-to-toe medical examination and assessment.

  • Documents and photographs the patient’s injuries, and history of abuse.

  • Completes a strangulation assessment with every patient, including education on signs and symptoms of serious injury.

  • Provides a warm hand-off of the patient to an advocate from DC SAFE or NVRDC, which provides safety planning, legal advocacy, and other crisis services.

If a patient would like a free consult with a nurse before seeking an IPV exam or to make a non-urgent referral to DCFNE for an IPV patient, please complete this form.


Forensic Nurse Training Program

See our page specifically for nurses to learn more and check out the training calendar for upcoming opportunities.