Victim Centered Care (cont part 2)

Develop culturally responsive care and be aware of issues commonly faced by patients from specific populations

Develop culturally competent and sensitive care by building awareness about and sensitivity to the ways that culture can impact a person’s experience in the immediate aftermath of sexual assault and across their lifespan. Be aware and responsive to the ways in which cultural identities (e.g., race, ethnicity, gender, religion, ability/disability, language (limited English proficiency), immigration status, socioeconomic status, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, age) may influence a person’s experience during the exam process as well. Education for responders on issues facing a specific population may serve to enhance care, services, and interventions provided during the exam process. Responders should identify different populations that exist in their jurisdiction and determine what information they should have readily available to help them serve patients from these populations, including what languages are spoken by the populations and how to access interpreters for each language needed. Building understanding of the perspectives of a specific population may help increase the likelihood that the actions and demeanor of responders will mitigate victim trauma. However, do not assume that patients will hold certain beliefs or have certain needs and concerns merely because they belong to a specific population. And, as pointed out earlier, recognize that patients’ experiences are affected by a plethora of other personal and external factors.

Develop policies and plans

Involved agencies and SART/SARRTs should develop policies and plans to meet the needs of specific patient populations (e.g., to obtain necessary interpreter services and translated documents for limited English proficient patients, qualified interpreters for Deaf and hard-of-hearing patients and individuals with sensory or communication disabilities, and identify legal referrals for immigrant victims of sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence, and stalking.) When creating these plans, consider what barriers exist for patients from different populations to receiving a high-quality exam and what can be done to remove these barriers. Also, consider what equipment and supplies might be needed to assist persons from specific populations (e.g., a hydraulic lift exam table may be useful with victims who have a physical disability or non-gendered body maps for transgender patients). Relevant responders need to have access to and know how to use such equipment or supplies.

Partner with those who serve specific populations.

Involved responders should seek expertise from and collaborate with organizations and leaders that serve specific populations. Not only may they be willing to provide information and training on working with victims from the population they serve, but they also may be a resource before, during, and after the exam process. If responders may be involved in the immediate response to victims, they should be trained on the dynamics of sexual victimization and procedures for getting help for victims and work with the multidisciplinary response team to clarify their roles and procedures for response.

Explore the needs of specific populations.

To gain a basic understanding of potential issues and concerns facing different groups of sexual assault victims, this section explores several specific populations.1 Clearly, this exploration is not inclusive of all populations of victims, but a more comprehensive discussion on this topic is beyond the scope of this document.

 Table of Contents Victim Centered Care
Specific Cultural Groups)


1 This section was adapted partially from Connecticut’s Technical Guidelines for Health Care Response to Victims of Sexual Assault, 1998, pp. 12–14, and from Iowa’s Sexual Assault: A Protocol for Forensic and Medical Examination, 1998, pp. 1–4.