De-mystifying Care of Patients with Mental Illness Following a Sexual Assault

Recent research suggests that up to 40% of patients who present for care following a sexual assault have some history of mental illness. But there has been limited academic work that examines unique considerations that may arise when caring for this patient population. How do we best provide medical care and forensic services for patients with mental illness in the acute setting following a reported sexual assault? How do we determine when it is, and is not, appropriate to offer a sexual assault medical forensic exam (SAMFE)? In this webinar, an interdisciplinary panel of SANEs and psychiatrists will highlight some of the challenges faced and questions that may arise, including:   

 – What does the research suggest about prevalence of various mental illness among victims of sexual assault?  What is the relationship between experiencing trauma and developing symptoms of mental illness? What are the practice implications?

– What are some circumstances in which a patient’s mental illness may limit their capacity to consent an SAMFE? How should we perform capacity assessments in these patients?

– What signs and symptoms of mental illness may not preclude capacity, but otherwise interfere with the SAMFE? How can we conceptualize other factors of a patient’s presentation when assessing whether the SAMFE is appropriate?

– What are some approaches that can be used when providing a SAMFE to a patient with mental illness, to facilitate delivery of compassionate and safe care? 

The guests include:

  • Leslie Miles, Associate Professor of Nursing at Brigham Young University
  • Julie Valentine, Assistant Professor at Brigham Young University,
  • Nancy Downing, Associate Professor of Nursing, Texas A&M University
  • Eleanore Knox, Psychiatry Resident, University of Texas at Southwestern
  • Kevin Brown, Assistant Professor of Psychiatry at the University of Texas 

If you are an IAFN member, please click here to view this webinar in IAFN’s Online Learning Center and earn Nursing CE. The video link below will not award Nursing CE.

The opinions, findings, conclusions, and recommendations expressed in this webinar are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Department of Justice, Office on Violence Against Women.


CE Credits are no longer available for this recorded online event. A certificate of attendance can be obtained by following the instructions listed in the Webinar FAQs below.

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