Victim-Centered Care

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Recommendations at a glance for health care providers and other responders to facilitate victim-centered care during the exam process

  • Give sexual assault patients priority as emergency cases
  • Provide the necessary means to ensure patient privacy
  • Adapt the exam process as needed to address the unique needs and circumstances of each patient
  • Develop culturally responsive care and be aware of issues commonly faced by victims from specific populations.
  • Recognize the importance of victim services within the exam process.
  • Accommodate patients’ requests to have a relative, friend, or other personal support person (e.g., religious -and spiritual counselor/advisor/healer) present during the exam, unless considered harmful by responders.
  • Accommodate patients’ requests for responders of a specific gender throughout the exam as much as
  • Prior to starting the exam and conducting each procedure, explain to patients in a language the patients understand what is entailed and its purpose.
  • Assess and respect patients’ priorities
  • Integrate medical and evidentiary procedures where possible.
  • Address patients’ safety during the exam.
  • Provide information that is easy for patients to understand, in the patient’s language, and that can be
    reviewed at their convenience.
  • Address physical comfort needs of patients prior to discharge.

It is critical to respond to individuals disclosing sexual assault in a timely, appropriate, sensitive, and
respectful way.1 Every action taken by responders during the exam process should be useful in facilitating patient care and healing and/or the investigation (if the case was reported).


 Table of Contents Victim Centered Care (cont)

1 The chapter was partially built on information from the North Carolina Protocol for Assisting Sexual Assault Victims, 2000.