Fundamental Criteria


The practice guidelines provided in “Virginia’s Healthcare Response to Sexual Assault: Guidelines for the Acute Care of Adult and Post-Pubertal Adolescent Sexual Assault Patients” are organized around four fundamental criteria for a model healthcare response to sexual assault.



I. The physical and emotional needs of sexual assault patients are recognized and addressed to minimize additional trauma.


This section focuses on PATIENT CARE PRIORITIES:

— Addressing physical and emotional trauma throughout the healthcare visit

— Addressing safety, privacy, and physical comfort needs

— Coordination with sexual assault crisis centers to provide emotional support and other assistance


II. Healthcare facilities treating sexual assault patients establish and promote a patient-centered model of care.


This section focuses on PROVIDER RESPONSIBILITIES:

— Utilizing providers with training in caring for sexual assault patients

— Respect for patient autonomy

— Providing information and obtaining consent

— Accommodating the individual needs of patients


III. Healthcare facilities provide medical services to sexual assault patients and promote a continuum of care through planning for and/or providing follow-up services, regardless of the time elapsed since the assault or whether a forensic exam is performed.


This section focuses on MEDICAL SERVICES:

— Medical screening

— Testing and treatment for STIs/HIV

— Emergency contraception

— Toxicology testing

— Discharge instructions, referrals, and follow-up services


IV. Healthcare facilities support the provision of competent, high quality forensic services to sexual assault patients.


This section focuses on FORENSIC SERVICES:

— Collecting and preserving forensic evidence and maintaining chain of custody

— Preparation of facilities and providers to provide quality forensic services

— Collaboration and coordination in the community response to sexual assault