Article Abstract

Emergency medical services for victims of rape—defining the role of clinical sexologists in providing clinical assessment and collecting forensic evidence

Authors: Damian Jacob Sendler


This paper describes a new model for treating the victims of rape in an emergency room setting. The central assumption of this model is that there is a team of two dedicated providers—an emergency room physician and a clinical sexologist. While the physician provides comprehensive medical evaluation, treatment, and collects forensic evidence—the constraints of time and physical space of emergency rooms are prohibitive to giving patients appropriately, long-term care. To solve this problem, emergency rooms, especially those that see many cases of sexual abuse (as it happens in large, urban medical centers) should consider hiring a dedicated clinical sexologist, who can provide extensive psychotherapy and community-based support. Using this approach, medical rooms allow victims of rape to feel cared for at all stages of recovery—from initial evaluation to discharge and during in-home recovery. Clinical sexologists have the unique training to address the psycho-social needs that emergency doctors do not have the time, or resources, to do adequately.