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.

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.

Reproductive Health

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).