Role of Emergency Medical Services on Sexual Assault Response TeamsOhio
Emergency medical services (EMS) personnel provide SARTs with medical information related to emergency procedures in response to sexual assaults and should be included as core members of Sexual Assault Response Teams. EMS practitioners on the team
- Give detailed explanations of EMS procedures and protocols.
- Address issues regarding scene preservation practices.
- Assist the team with general crime scene preservation practices.
- Act as liaison between the team and the EMS community.
- Provide testimony in court.
- To involve EMS representatives in the SART.
- To educate all the area's EMS providers on the proper assessment and treatment of sexual assault patients and the importance of transporting patients to a hospital with a SANE program.
- To teach all the area's EMS providers how to properly document a run sheet that can be admissible in court.
Making the Idea a Reality
- Determine what type of EMS system is in your area.
- Contact management at the service centers and explain the SART/SANE model.
- Ask each service provider to send a representative to the next SART meeting.
- Contact the training officers at each service center or at the Medical Command Hospital (depending on the system) to set up a lecture on the proper assessment and treatment of sexual assault patients and the importance of transporting victims to a hospital with a SANE program.
- Set up lectures at schools offering EMT-basic/paramedic training on how to assess and treat sexual assault patients and on the importance of transporting them to a hospital with a SANE program.
Benefits to Victims
- Patients are transported to hospitals with SANE programs and receive superior services and care.
- EMS assists with the preservation of evidence.
- EMS informs patients of their options regarding advocacy and facilitates the dispatching of advocates at the hospital.
- Patients generally have a more positive experience with EMS personnel, who have been trained in how to talk to individuals who have been sexually assaulted (e.g., remaining objective, building rapport).
Benefits to Victim Service Professionals
- EMS and the police departments are on the same page when it comes to transporting an individual who has been sexually assaulted. When it comes to transporting a patient, there may be a conflict in the police department's standard operating procedure and the paramedic's protocols.
- EMS personnel are able to preserve evidence while performing patient care.
- EMS personnel may be the first health care providers with whom an individual who has been sexually assaulted interacts. Their attitude and demeanor can affect how a patient cooperates during the rape exam and with law enforcement.
- EMS personnel are able to provide testimony in court as to the victim's initial appearance and demeanor, injuries, and so forth.
- Evaluations of the training provided to EMS personnel by SART members are completed at the end of each course of training to assess the learning needs of EMS personnel.
- EMS personnel may need continuing education on the proper assessment and treatment of sexual assault patients and the importance of transporting them to a hospital with a SANE program. Every 2 years would be beneficial.
- EMS personnel must be reminded that they are there to provide patient care and not to step outside their role and attempt to act as a representative of law enforcement. There is usually no need to conduct detailed questioning about the sexual assault.
- Documentation is historically a "problem area" for EMS and needs attention coupled with proper training.