Harris Health System’s Forensic Nursing Program is dedicated to providing compassionate, sensitive care for patients who are victims of interpersonal violence—sexual assault, domestic violence, child abuse, elder abuse and human trafficking.
One in three women and one in six men are survivors of sexual violence. If you have been sexually assaulted or abused, you are not alone. Our forensic nursing team is here to help you.
Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Sexual assault is NEVER the victim’s fault. In an emergency, call 911.
Harris Health’s forensic nursing services are available 24/7. If you are a victim and need immediate assistance, call 911 or go to the nearest sexual assault forensic exam (SAFE)-ready facility. Visit the Texas Health and Human Services website for information for sexual assault resources.
For healthcare providers
If you are a medical facility and need to send a patient to one of our facilities for a forensic exam, contact the transfer center at 713-873-8601. For general questions that are not urgent, call the forensic nursing office at 713-873-2219.
About the forensic exam
First, the emergency center team checks to see if the patient has any injuries requiring immediate attention.
Second, patients answer health questions and details about the event to help guide the forensic nurse examiner in conducting the medical forensic exam. A forensic nurse (also referred to as a SANE) is a registered nurse who has been specially trained to offer compassionate medical forensic care and support on the victim’s behalf. The forensic nurse will guide the patient through the process.
Third, if the assault occurred within the last 120 hours, the forensic nurse will conduct a head-to-toe/full-body exam that includes collecting evidence such as hair combings, swabs and clothing during this examination.
Lastly, the team offers treatment for the prevention of sexually transmitted infections and pregnancy.
You may decline any part of the exam.
Exams without law enforcement involvement
Adults age 18-64 may have evidence collected without reporting to law enforcement. Reporting is mandatory for minors, the elderly and mentally disabled adult survivors. The non-report option allows you to have your evidence collected and held at the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) crime lab anonymously for up to five years. At any time within those five years, you can choose to report and have your evidence transferred to the appropriate law enforcement agency for processing.
PaymentThere is no cost for the medical forensic exam provided by the forensic nurse. If the assault is reported to law enforcement, the victim may qualify for monetary damages for the assault from the Crime Victim’s Compensation Program through the Office of the Attorney General of Texas.
Where to go for care
Harris Health Ben Taub Hospital Emergency Center1504 Taub LoopHouston, TX 77030
Harris Health Lyndon B. Johnson Hospital Emergency Center5656 Kelley StreetHouston, TX 77026
Community ResourcesAid to Victims of Domestic Abuse713-224-9911
Houston Area Women’s Center713-528-RAPE (7273)
National Domestic Violence Hotline1-800-799-7233
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline1-800-273-8255
National Teen Dating Abuse Helpline1-866-331-9474
Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network1-800-656-(HOPE) 4673
Rescue America (trafficking)713-322-8000
The Bridge Over Troubled Waters713-473-2801