RAINN Supports Bipartisan Bill to Expand Access to Medical Services for Survivors

A bipartisan group of senators, led by Sens. Patty Murray (D-WA) and Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), has introduced legislation to help states and hospitals improve their sexual assault forensic examination services for survivors. RAINN has worked closely with congressional leaders to inform the Survivors’ Access to Supportive Care Act (SASCA) and will continue to support efforts to pass the bill and similar measures.

“Forensic nurses who perform sexual assault medical forensic exams, often called SANEs, provide critical care to survivors in the aftermath of sexual assault and serve a vital role in the criminal justice system by collecting evidence,” says Rebecca O’Connor, vice president of public policy at RAINN. “Access to a prompt sexual assault examination conducted by a forensic nurse trained in a trauma-informed, victim-centered approach is crucial for evidence collection and is essential to a survivor's short-term care and long-term healing.”

Key provisions in SASCA include:

  • Creation of a national training and continuing education program to develop federal standards around sexual assault examinations and treatment.
  • Collection of data on the availability of sexual assault medical forensic examinations.
  • Support for state-level reviews of practices to assess deficits in care and increase awareness of forensic examinations.
  • Requirements for hospitals receiving federal funds to report on sexual assault medical forensic examination training and access.

“Survivors are more likely to agree to a sexual assault medical forensic exam if one is readily available and if they feel safe and supported by the medical professionals around them,” O’Connor added. “Increasing training and resources for forensic nurses conducting sexual assault medical forensic examinations and making them more accessible will ensure more survivors have access to the crucial medical attention they deserve and expert evidence collection essential for getting justice.”

Seven out of 10 sexual assaults are committed by someone who knows the victim.

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