On behalf of the Virginia Sexual and Domestic Violence Action Alliance (Action Alliance) and the Virginia Chapter of the International Association of Forensic Nurse Examiners (VAIFNE), we are pleased to announce that “Virginia’s Healthcare Response to Sexual Assault: Guidelines for the Acute Care of Adult and Post-Pubertal Adolescent Sexual Assault Patients” is now available at http://www.sexualanddomesticviolencevirginia.org/health.htm. May take a few minutes to download. Please be patient.

In 2007, the Governor’s Commission on Sexual Violence recommended the development of a consistent healthcare response to sexual assault. Subsequently, a multidisciplinary team of dedicated healthcare providers, criminal justice professionals, sexual assault victim advocates, and survivors of sexual assault was convened to commence this effort.

These new guidelines are the culmination of their efforts, replacing “Virginia’s Hospital Protocol for the Treatment of Sexual Assault Victims” that was developed in 1990. This new document incorporates recommendations from professionals across Virginia, as well as information from relevant state and national resources on the management of sexual assault patients and the collection of forensic evidence. Recognizing that not all communities or facilities can sustain forensic nursing programs, these guidelines were developed to assist all healthcare providers.

It provides: Guidance and tools for clinicians providing care to sexual assault patients; Guidance for healthcare facilities developing or enhancing policies for the provision of medical and forensic services; and Guidance to communities working to establish a coordinated community response to sexual assault. While these guidelines were developed for healthcare professionals, we know that the healthcare sector is just one component of a comprehensive response to sexual assault. It is hope of the committee that these guidelines will be a valuable resource and tool in our efforts to establish policies, procedures, and practices that promote a quality, consistent, and compassionate response to sexual assault patients in your community.

reprinted from the Virginia Sexual and Domestic Violence Action Alliance