Sexual assault is rapidly becoming a prime concern of health care professionals.
Sexual assault has no boundaries; anyone of any age, sex, race, social, or economic
background may become a victim. These victims need to be cared for quickly, with
dignity and compassion, while evidence must be handled with great care in accordance
with the legal instructions provided by the authority involved.
DEFINITION OF SEXUAL ASSAULT
Rape is usually defined as the sexual attack upon a female by a male, but this is
not necessarily the case. Another definition of rape is that it is an act of violence in
which sexual relations are forced upon another person.
INITIAL CONTACT WITH RAPE VICTIM
In your first contact with the rape victim, advise the victim to avoid bathing,
showering, or douching. Although the victim usually feels dirty and compelled to wash,
the case must be reported to the emergency room (ER) immediately. The victim has
rights and may choose not to accept your advice. Remember to keep in mind that the
person you are dealing with is a victim and not a criminal.
EMERGENCY ROOM PERSONNEL DUTIES
Procedure for emergency room personnel is as follows:
a. Immediately notify the charge nurse.
b. Provide the patient with visual and auditory privacy.
c. Consult the emergency room Standing Operating Procedure (SOP). Local,
state, or post law enforcement authorities may be involved. Each may have different