State Issues Sexual Assault Hospital Guidance

May 18, 2020

As part of a collaborative effort to reassure sexual assault and domestic violence survivors that hospital emergency departments remain safe, equipped and ready to provide treatment during the COVID-19 outbreak, in consultation with IHA and sexual assault and domestic violence advocacy organizations, the Pritzker administration and the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) recently issued related guidance for Illinois hospitals and advocates.

In addition to the ED reorganization strategies that have already taken place, the IDPH guidance encourages hospitals, as appropriate and feasible, to extend triage and care for sexual assault and domestic violence survivors to an alternate location in proximity to the ED. Rape crisis and domestic violence advocates have been directed, when possible, to telephone hospitals ahead of a survivor’s ED visit to give notice of need for sexual assault forensic examination or evidence collection. Hospitals and advocates are also encouraged to remain in contact regarding visitation policies during COVID-19, and hospitals should arrange for telephone support if an advocate cannot accompany the survivor.

The complete IDPH guidance, which contains links to a list of rape crisis centers and domestic violence service providers, can be found on the IHA website.