Sexual Violence Preparedness and Response During COVID-19

 

Guidelines and Information for First Responders and Victims

 

COVID-19 has disrupted nearly every aspect of American life. While many considerations must be taken into account when creating responses to the changes to normal operations necessitated by the virus, it is important to not ignore the needs of victims of sexual violence at this critical time.

Currently, most law enforcement agencies have moved to remote operations and are following Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines, but are still conducting virtual and in person interviews, as needed.

Forensic labs are still operating and, at this time, there should not be a delay in testing or processing of rape kits.

 

 

State social service agencies and child advocacy centers are triaging in-person cases based on imminent harm standards. In cases where children are in imminent harm, centers will most likely be providing in-person interviews. For non-imminent harm cases, interviews are being conducted virtually. Contact your local child advocacy center for additional information.

Sexual assault forensic exams (rape kits) are still being conducted in most areas, but availability may be limited in areas hit hardest by COVID-19. Some facilities have moved rape kit exam locations to non-emergency room locations. Please contact a local sexual assault service provider in your area for up-to-date information on exam availabilty.

Below you will find recommendations for increasing the safety of vulnerable populations during this pandemic.


Guidance for Temporary Medical Facilities

Checklist for Facilities to Prevent and Respond to Sexual Violence (RAINN, April 2020)


Guidance for Children’s Advocacy Centers (CACs)

Emergency Tele-Forensic Interview Guidelines (National Children’s Alliance, March 2020)

Tele-Forensic Interview Screening Infographic (LifeBridge Health & Baltimore Child Abuse Center, April 2020)

Find your state’s CAC

CAC Training:

COVID-19 Resources for CACs, Partners, and Caregivers (National Children’s Alliance, April 2020)

Rural and Remote Service Area Trainings - How to Meet the Forensic Interview Standard (National Children’s Alliance, March 2020)


Guidance for Sexual Assault Forensic Exams

CALSAFE Guidance for Sexual Assault Exams during COVID-19 (CalSAFE, April 2020)

Find a sexual assault nurse examiner (SANE) near you

Find a sexual assault service provider near you


Guidance for Law Enforcement

Using Virtual Meeting Software for the Law Enforcement Interview of Victims During COVID-19 and Beyond (End Violence Against Women International, March 2020)


Guidance for Courts

Remote Court Operations Incorporating A2J Principles (National Center for State Courts, March 2020)


Guidance for Prosecuters

National District Attorney Offices' Response to Coronavirus (COVID-19) (National Distorict Attorneys Association, April 2020)


Temporary Shelters for Victims

Temporary shelter for survivors of domestic violence, sexual assault, or trafficking during COVID-19 (Safe Shelter Collaborative, 2020)

The rape kit backlog is currently one of the biggest obstacles to prosecuting perpetrators of sexual violence.

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Out of every 1,000 sexual assaults, 310 are reported to the police.

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