Health care providers are often first responders for sexual assault survivors. While some survivors may want to have forensic evidence collected for possible use in a criminal case, others may wish to have their medical needs cared for while choosing not to engage with the justice system. Regardless of the decision, the health care system plays an important role caring for sexual assault survivors.
Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner (SANE)
The role of the Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner (SANE) is to provide for the immediate medical care of the survivor, to collect and document forensic evidence if the survivor so chooses, and to provide expert testimony in cases that go to trial. While the medical forensic exam may assist with the investigation and prosecution of the offender, it is foremost intended to assist the survivor in their recovery.
- SART Protocol (WCASA, 2014) (*available on the Providers page)
- Wisconsin Department of Justice SANE Program (webinar) (WCASA webinar, 2017)
- DNA Essentials for Advocates and Survivors (WCASA webinar, 2017)
- Compassionate Care for Rape Victims (CCRV) (WCASA webinar, 2017)
- WI Department of Justice SANE Program
- WI SAFE Fund – Payment for Forensic Exams
- Department of Health Services (DHS) guidelines for Victim Accompaniment
- Patient Rights for Victims of Sexual Assault - Victim Accompaniment and Access to Emergency Contraception
- WCASA Summary of Victim Accompaniment Law
- National Protocol for Sexual Assault Medical Forensic Examinations - Adult/Adolescent, Pediatric
- Medical and Forensic Considerations in Caring for Transgender Sexual Assault Survivors (Webinar & Resources)
Wisconsin Attorney General’s Sexual Assault Response Team (AG-SART)
In 2012, former Wisconsin Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen convened a statewide multi-disciplinary group to create uniform practices related to the processing, payment, and testing of evidence collected as part of the sexual assault medical forensic exam (SANE exam). Specifically, the AG-SART developed recommendations in the following areas: 1.) A new protocol for when a sexual assault victim presents at a hospital to seek medical care after the assault; 2.) Revised billing practices to ensure compliance with the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA); 3.) Processing untested rape kits that are located at law enforcement agencies or hospitals across the state.
In addition to its long-lasting trauma, sexual assault is about domination and control over another person’s body and decision-making. As a result, WCASA supports policies that allow sexual assault survivors to make their own decisions about their health and reproductive care.
Building Networks for Advocacy & Reproductive Health
Family Planning/Reproductive Health (FP/RH) providers establish trusted relationships with their patients, creating a supportive environment where survivors may disclose incidents of sexual assault. WCASA works with the Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS) to develop resources to support the relationships between FP/RH providers and sexual assault service providers (SASP).
- Reproductive Healthcare Access for Survivors of Sexual Violence (WCASA, 2022)
- Reproductive Health Needs for SA Survivors (WCASA, 2018) (*available on the Providers page)
- Medical Assessment Tool for Sexual Assault Advocates (WCASA, 2017) - This tool was developed in collaboration with local SA advocates and will assist programs in assessing for the comprehensive medical needs of survivors (*available on the Providers page)
- Reproductive Health and Partner Violence Guidelines (Futures Without Violence) - This resource focuses on the transformative role of the reproductive health care provider in identifying and addressing IPV and reproductive coercion.
- Tools for Advocates (Futures Without Violence) - Offers tools, webinars, assessments for advocacy programs working to incorporate health and forge partnerships with health care providers.
- Assessing Patients for Sexual Violence (NSVRC) - This guide aims to encourage health care providers to conduct full assessments with patients to encourage interventions that provide adequate treatment and recommendations for survivors.
- Reproductive & Sexual Coercion Toolkit (Virginia Action Alliance) - This toolkit is designed to develop the capacity SA/DV agencies to screen for reproductive and sexual coercion within the context of intimate partner violence and increase partnerships with local health providers to respond to the related healthcare needs of survivors.
- Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin
- Wisconsin Alliance for Women’s Health (WIAWH): Compassionate Care for Rape Victims Information, Compassionate Care for Rape Victims (CCRV) Toolkit
- Futures Without Violence: Health Programs & Initiatives
- VAWnet Special Collection: Reproductive Justice & Violence Against Women