Nurses Must Get Training For Sexual Assault Victims


 
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                                                         By Judy Molland

Kelsey Bourgeois was shocked to discover that not every nurse is trained to provide care for victims of sexual assault in her home state of Illinois.

But when Bourgeois learned that a pending bill would require hospitals in the state to employ enough Sexual Assault Nurse Examiners — SANE — to treat any victim of sexual assault within 90 minutes of arrival, she decided to create a Care2 petition calling on legislators to pass this proposed legislation.

An investigation by The Chicago Tribune earlier this year found that although there are over 196,000 registered nurses in Illinois, just 32 of these nurses are SANE nurses, certified to treat sexual assault patients. And only 12 are trained in pediatrics.

But thanks to over 51,000 signatures on this Care2 petition and pressure from other public health activists, that will all change.

Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner signed the bill into law on August 10; By 2022, hospitals will have to ensure that within 90 minutes of their arrival, victims of sexual assault have access to a sexual assault specialist who is specifically trained to treat them.

If hospitals can’t comply with this requirement, they must transfer patients to a different facility.

A huge shout-out to Bourgeois and to all the Care2 members who signed her petition demanding qualified treatment for sexual assault survivors.

Republican state representative Mike Unes sponsored this legislation, stating: “This truly does give voice to the voiceless, especially when we’re talking about those in pediatrics who have gone through some senseless and unthinkable trauma.”

Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan is equally proud: “This new law will ensure survivors receive the care they deserve to treat the physical and emotional trauma they have endured after a sexual assault.”

Survivors of sexual assault deserve to be treated with the utmost respect after what they have been through. Many survivors are too ashamed or afraid to even report their assault; according to RAINN, only about one in three rapes are even reported to the police.

The least hospitals can do is to provide excellent care in their emergency rooms. As Bourgeois writes in her petition:

Nurses are in a unique position to make a big difference in the outcome of a sexual assault, and this legislation would require hospitals to help them get the training they need to be effective.

Bourgeois launched her petition as part of Care2’s Sexual Assault Awareness Month in April, and it’s wonderful to see the impact of Care2 members who supported her in achieving this success.



 
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Articles in this issue:

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    Editor-in Chief:
    Kirsten Nicole

    Editorial Staff:
    Kirsten Nicole
    Stan Kenyon
    Robyn Bowman
    Kimberly McNabb
    Lisa Gordon
    Stephanie Robinson

    Contributors:
    Kirsten Nicole
    Stan Kenyon
    Liz Di Bernardo
    Cris Lobato
    Elisa Howard
    Susan Cramer

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