Introduction: More than 190,000 sexual assaults involving persons aged 12 years or older occur annually in the United States. For these victims, a forensic examination is the first step in the process to justice. Assessment and treatment of victims, as well as the meticulous collection and documentation of evidence, are vital for a strong case. Providing timely services 24/7 by qualified professionals can be taxing on schedules and budgets. Using in-house resources to cross-train ED personnel, we developed a program that introduced novice forensic examiners to common clinical scenarios encountered in the treatment of victims and provided a framework for the evaluation and management of each case. Methods: Seventeen ED personnel attended statewide sexual assault nurse examination training and participated in four simulation scenarios and debriefings. Pre-tests and post-tests were administered, and a checklist was used to assess competence in performing examinations independently. Results: The majority of participants achieved competence (≥85% on the checklist) with their first case and had statistically significant gains in knowledge between pre-test and post-test (pre-test mean score [±SE] of 69.1 ± 1.7 vs. post-test mean score of 84.4 ± 2.6, P < .001). Course evaluations were favorable, with a mean score of 91.3%. Discussion: Our results validated the use of simulation technology and in-house resources for cross-training in a sexual assault forensic examination program, together with a checklist to assess competence in performing examinations independently. Benefits of having a sexual assault forensic examination program in the emergency department are standardized and timely care for victims, as well as enhanced evidence collection and increased reporting and prosecution of crimes.
- Sexual assault
ASJC Scopus subject areas