Info for Medical Professionals

"Whether sexual assault occurred is a legal matter for a court decision and is NOT A MEDICAL DIAGNOSIS. Outcome of any subsequent trial will pivot on any information and evidence provided by physician and the victim's testimony. Careful recording of medical and legal data can eliminate the need for physician court appearance."
-- American College of Obstetrics

The role of physicians and nurses is critical since they are the first to examine sexual assault victims and collect evidence for legal action against rapists. Of the less than 10% of cases reported, only 51% result in arrest. This points to the importance of effective evidence collection procedures and practices on the part of medical professionals.





Physicians play a key role in directing and providing care for rape victims. A major part of this care is the proper collection of evidence from rape victims and ensuring that they are not re-victimized by medical professionals.


Here are some recommendations for how you can be better prepared to help rape victims:

  • Have a desire to work with those dealing with the trauma of sexual assault
  • Receive adequate training for gathering forensic evidence in cases of sexual assault
  • Work to create "safe space" in a hospital setting for victims to be seen and examined
  • Possess a sense of social justice for sexual assault victims
  • Function as part of the Sexual Assault Response Team in your community
  • Support a Sexual Assault Nurse Examiners Program for your facility

If you want more information, visit the website of the American Congress of Obstetrics and Gynecology.





Nurses play a major role in the healing process of rape victims. According to national expert Linda Ledray, PhD, RN, victims have five needs that nurses can meet:

  • Documentation of, and caring for, any injuries
  • Collection of forensic evidence
  • Dealing with STD and pregnancy concerns
  • Crisis intervention
  • Follow-up services


Here are some recommendations for how you can be better prepared to help rape victims:

  • Receive support from the hospital and community to obtain training in order to work effectively with victims of sexual assault (GNESA offers both Adult/Adolescent and Pediatric/Adolescent SANE training)
  • Function as part of their community's Sexual Assault Response Team (SART)


For more information, visit the web site of the International Association of Forensic Nurses.