RAINN Releases Resources for Preventing & Responding to Sexual Violence in Temporary Medical Facilities During COVID-19

Washington, D.C. – RAINN today shared with government agencies at the federal, state and local levels a new checklist of considerations for preventing and responding to sexual violence as they build and manage temporary medical facilities related to COVID-19.

In addition, RAINN has created a central hub of guidance documents from leading experts with COVID-19-specific protocols for investigators, prosecutors, courts, and public officials. The guidance covers issues such as investigating sexual assault; forensic interviews for abused children; and ensuring the continuity of services such as sexual assault forensic exams during coronavirus-related closures.

“Sexual and domestic violence increase during natural disasters and during the immediate post-disaster period when access to traditional support structures has been reduced,” says Camille Cooper, RAINN’s vice president for public policy. “For example, reports indicated that sexual assaults increased by 45% during the Hurricane Katrina crisis and in the recovery period. The lessons learned from the planning and response to sexual violence during and after natural disasters like Katrina must be modified to protect patients, medical staff, and volunteers during the COVID-19 pandemic.”

This checklist from the experts at RAINN, the nation’s largest anti-sexual violence organization, is divided into two stages: considerations for preventing and responding to sexual violence when establishing, building, or repurposing facilities; and considerations for establishing facility security protocols. The checklist is intended to be used as a resource and does not supersede any existing general orders, policies, or procedures.