SAFE Program Evolves, Introducing a New Position

Exciting changes are taking place within our Sexual Assault Forensic Examiner (SAFE) program to bring more education and prevention to our community!

St. Joseph Healthcare’s SAFE program provides professional nursing care for survivors of sexual assault. The program focuses on holistic, trauma-informed care and works closely with community partners to produce better outcomes for these survivors. On the team, we have 5 State of Maine credentialed SAFE nurses for adults and adolescents (ME-SAFE-A), and 2 more nurses in training to become credentialed. 4/5 of the SAFE-A nurses are also pediatric SAFEs in training (SITs).

Despite the team’s already impactful efforts, many opportunities still exist to address sexual violence, domestic violence, human tracking, child abuse, and elder abuse in our community. Those involved in the SAFE program developed a vision to find more innovative and hands-on ways to serve our community. With the donor support and advocacy from St. Joe’s leadership, a new position was created to do just that.

We are excited to announce Keri Kapaldo, RN, BSN, ME-SAFE-A, SANE-A, as our SAFE Clinical Leader. With the addition of this full-time position, Kapaldo shared, “the program will be able to increase focus on primary and secondary prevention around sexual and domestic violence, build new relationships with community partners as well as grow already established relationships, and provide more education on various topics such as human trafficking and non-fatal strangulation.”

Keri has been a SAFE nurse for about seven years and is also board certified by the International Association of Forensic Nurses (IAFN) as a Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner (SANE-A). “It’s important to me that we provide care to the whole person, especially when caring for a patient affected by violence; because of our collaboration with our community partners, we are able to provide that holistic, trauma-informed care and, in return, generate healing and better outcomes for survivors.”

We are excited for what’s to come, and to watch this program grow!