FAYETTEVILLE, N.C. (WNCN) — Fayetteville State University wants to train nurses specifically to treat sexual assault victims.

University officials on Tuesday announced plans for a program that will train 20 sexual assault nurse examiners (SANE) each semester and up to 60 each year.

Lawmakers appropriated $1.5 million in the state budget for the FSU School of Nursing’s pilot program. School officials say Fayetteville State is likely the first historically black college and university with a SANE training program at its nursing school.

The school says there are fewer than 100 certified SANEs across the state.

“Unfortunately, sexual assault is a rampant problem nationwide, particularly in rural areas and among women of color and indigenous women,” said Dr. Afua Arhin, dean of the university’s college of health, science and technology.

“FSU’s School of Nursing is uniquely positioned to prepare health care professionals with the specialized skills required to meet the needs of these trauma patients,” Arhin added. “We are committed to training nurses of the highest caliber, SANEs are another area of critical need that we aim to address here.”

SANE nurses receive specialized training and education to work with victims of sexual assault, abuse or incest, providing thorough forensic exams and providing expert testimony in court.

A nurse must have at least two years of experience, plus dozens of hours of training and clinical work, before passing a written exam from the International Association of Forensic Nurses.