Send to

Choose Destination
Womens Health. 1997 Summer;3(2):75-101.

Emergency medical services for rape victims: detecting the cracks in service delivery.

Author information

Department of Psychology, University of Illinois at Chicago 60607-7137, USA.


Rape victims have many emergency medical needs, yet there has been very little research examining whether victims are receiving desired assistance. In this study, 147 rape victim advocates were interviewed about their most recent case in which a victim has sought treatment in an emergency room (ER). The results of this study indicated that there is some inconsistency in which services victims receive and that many women did not obtain the resources they wanted. Some forms of assistance were not provided to victims due to lack of resources in their communities (e.g., follow-up medical care). Other services were not offered due to problems in the implementation of available services (e.g., the morning-after pill [ethinyl estradiol-norgestrel] to prevent pregnancy). This research also examined how characteristics of the hospitals, the assaults themselves, and the victims impacted whether women would receive desired help. These findings indicated that women who were treated in hospitals affiliated with the Catholic church; those who were raped by their friends, dating partners, or husbands; those who experienced multiple forms of forced penetration (vaginal rape and anal rape, oral rape, or rape by an object); women of Color; and victims who did not present a sympathetic demeanor in the ER were less likely to receive several forms of assistance, such as treatment of physical injuries, arranging follow-up medical care, information and treatment for sexually transmitted diseases, information on the risk of pregnancy, the morning-after pill, and information on the physical and psychological health effects of sexual assault. Victims who were taken to hospitals that had coordinated response teams (e.g., Sexual Assault Response Teams) to work with survivors were more likely to receive some forms of treatment (e.g., information on the physical and psychological health effects of sexual assault). Implications for future research and policy initiatives in women's health are discussed.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Loading ...
Support Center