Emergency Centre care for sexual assault victims

Allana M. Krolikowski, Alex Koyfman

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Sexual assault is a topic of importance worldwide to health professionals that provide emergency care. Victims of sexual assault include adult men, adult women, and children. The prevalence of sexual assault is likely under-reported. These patients should be offered comprehensive medical care upon arrival to the emergency centre. This includes assessment for acute injuries; medical history; physical examination; and possible collection of evidence. Depending on the patient's situation, he or she may be offered prophylactic and therapeutic management, which includes pregnancy testing and emergency contraception, prophylaxis for sexually transmitted infections, and HIV post-exposure prophylaxis. This article addresses the most up-to-date information on this management. Patients should also be offered mental health counselling on-site if appropriate health professionals are available. A number of countries have national protocols for care of the sexual assault patient. Implementing these protocols can be strengthened through such interventions as hiring sexual assault nurse examiners or creating a sexual assault centre within the emergency centre. The patient's immediate and future safety and emotional needs should be evaluated and a plan formulated for safety when the patient is discharged. Medical follow up is recommended and should be strongly encouraged.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)24-30
Number of pages7
JournalAfrican Journal of Emergency Medicine
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 2012


  • Emergency contraception
  • Emergency medicine
  • HIV post-exposure prophylaxis
  • Sexual assault
  • Sexually transmitted infections

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Emergency Medicine
  • Gerontology
  • Emergency
  • Geochemistry and Petrology
  • Critical Care


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