New training aims to help survivors of sexual assault

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US health care

FRANKFORT, Ky. (WTVQ) – New training for hospital employees aims to help survivors of sexual assault.

It’s a one hour training video for emergency room staff and hospital employees who work with sexual assault victims. The training covers an overview of survivors’ rights, the role of rape crisis advocates , legal requirements for hospitals under the Sexual Assault Forensic Exam Act, and provides the best ways to treat victims without traumatizing the patient more.

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Its estimated that one in two women and one in sixteen men in the state will experience sexual violence.

Eileen Recktenwald, executive director of the Kentucky Association of Sexual Assault Programs said, “Undergoing a sexual assault forensic exam can be daunting and painful, but it can also help survivors who are just beginning a long journey of healing. All victims deserve swift, compassionate, trauma-informed care when they walk into an emergency department in the aftermath of a sexual assault. We hope this video, produced in consultation with doctors and nurses, helps health care professionals understand their legal responsibilities and provide high quality, victim-centered care.”

The SAFE Act of 2016 ensures all SAFE kits get submitted, requires police to get training on how to conduct sexual assault investigations, and sets timelines for testing kits.

The Kentucky law also requires all hospitals that have emergency services to provides a free sexual assault forensic exam to all victims and contact a local rape crisis center.

Hospitals must contact law enforcement to collect the SAFE kits and hold on to all kits not reported to law enforcement for one year.

This new training was launched by Attorney General Andy Beshear, the Kentucky Association of Sexual Assault Programs, and the Kentucky Hospital Association.