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Sexual Assault Forensic Examiner (SAFE) Center of Excellence

The Sexual Assault Reform Act, enacted in FY 2000, significantly expanded the Department's role in addressing sexual assault. The legislation directs the Department to designate interested hospitals in the state as sites of 24-hour sexual assault forensic examiner (SAFE) programs. These hospitals are centers of excellence for the provision of sexual assault services. All SAFE Centers must meet standards that have been established by DOH in conjunction with a team of experts in the field.

The goals of the SAFE program are to:

  1. Provide timely, compassionate, patient-centered care in a private setting that provides emotional support and reduces further trauma to the patient;
  2. Provide quality medical care to the patient who reports sexual assault, including evaluation, treatment, referral and follow-up;
  3. Ensure the quality of collection, documentation, preservation and custody of physical evidence by utilizing a trained and New York State Department of Health (DOH) certified sexual assault forensic examiner to perform the exam;
  4. Utilize an interdisciplinary approach by working with rape crisis centers and other service providers, law enforcement and prosecutors' offices to effectively meet the needs of the sexual assault victim and the community;
  5. Provide expert testimony when needed if the patient chooses to report the crime to law enforcement; and,
  6. Improve and standardize data regarding the incidence of sexual assault victims seeking treatment in hospital emergency departments.

For more information on New York's SAFE program, please visit

See all NY State designated SAFE Centers of Excellence.

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