Program equipping nurses to support sex assault survivors a finalist for Buy Queensland awards

04 October 2022

An innovative online training program that helps prepare Queensland nurses and midwives to support survivors of sexual assault has been recognised as a finalist in the Buy Queensland Supplier Awards.

The awards recognise people and businesses that supply to the Queensland Government and are contributing to a stronger and better State.

Developed in partnership between Queensland Health and CQUniversity' the Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner (SANE) micro-credential program has trained nearly 100 nurses and midwives across regional Queensland' improving knowledge and skills to deliver care to patients being evaluated for sexual assault.

Launched in April 2021' the training was fully tested and scaled by CQUniversity's Centre for Professional Development (CPD)' and developed around person-centred care principles.

CQUniversity CPD Manager Deb Friel said the success of the program was largely due to the hyperflexible format that accommodates nurses' work routines and availability for study.

"The program has been carefully developed using a combination of asynchronous e-learning and a face-to-face workshop'" she said.

"After completing the online modules' nurses participate in a workshop with Queensland Health's Senior Forensic Physicians' to test their competence using simulated scenarios.

"CQU's ongoing support and commitment to its industry partners and regions have ensured the success of this partnership enabling nurses and midwives to provide more accessible health care for sexual assault survivors in their communities."

The Buy Queensland Supplier Awards were announced in Brisbane on Wednesday 5 October 2022' and CQUniversity was one of five finalists in the 'Delivering for Queensland' category.

CQUniversity's nomination highlighted the innovative approach of the online training' which directly responds to community demand for person-centred forensic examination following sexual assault.

"As Australia's only social enterprise university certified by Social Traders' social innovation is embedded across all of CQUniversity's curriculum and activities'" the nomination stated.

"The co-designed program delivery showcases innovation via online learning' technology and co-design to work together to deliver better access to and quality of training supporting quality local jobs for regionally-based nurses and midwives' which in turn delivers better outcomes for Queensland by having this support service available regionally for victims of sexual assault.

"The SANE program has further flow-on effects advancing positive social outcomes for Queensland' via potential improvements to the extremely low rates of reporting of (and convictions for) sexual assault by providing better local support and forensic services needed to help regional victims report and gather evidence."

It's estimated that 75 per cent of sexual assaults in Australia are never reported' and in July 2019 Queensland Health introduced a process for adults who experience sexual assault to access a forensic examination without reporting to police' in case they decide to make a police report at a later time.

Successful participants in the SANE micro-credential are awarded a digital badge issued by CQUniversity in partnership with Queensland Health.

The badge validates their new knowledge and skills with employers and recognises professional development and valuable contribution to improved service delivery across Queensland.

The inaugural Buy Queensland Supplier Awards were held in 2019' and 2022 marks the second time the event was held in person due to COVID-19 pandemic disruptions.