229892 Compassionate care for rape victims in Wisconsin

Tuesday, November 9, 2010 : 1:45 PM - 2:00 PM

Amy Olejniczak, MS, MPH , Wisconsin Alliance for Women's Health, Madison, WI
Objective: The Wisconsin Alliance for Women's Health (WAWH) conducted a review of the Compassionate Care for Rape Victims (CCRV) Act to determine the effectiveness of this law, uncover barriers to compliance, and provide recommendations for next steps.

Problem: The CCRV Act requires all Wisconsin hospitals to provide oral and written information regarding emergency contraception (EC) to all victims of sexual assault and to dispense it immediately on-site when requested. However, victims are still not receiving compassionate care consistently.

Methods: A survey was distributed to all Wisconsin Hospital Emergency Rooms (n=124) and after three follow-up phone calls an 83.7% response rate was received. Data was collected regarding the consistency of compassionate care provided as well as barriers to complying with this law. Results: 84% of hospitals reported that they always offer EC immediately on-site. This is a dramatic improvement from 2007 when 42% of hospitals reported that this was not standard policy; however, 26% of hospitals are still non-compliant with the law. 23% reported “lack of available resources” and 15% reported “individual provider beliefs or variations in provider practices” as barriers to compliance. Other barriers including “unfamiliarity with the law” and “religious affiliation of hospital” were also commonly noted.

Conclusion: It is clear that knowledge about and adherence to CCRV is lacking in many Wisconsin emergency rooms. To avoid poor outcomes, victims must be provided the opportunity to prevent an unwanted pregnancy by their perpetrator and avoid further social, psychological and physical harm. Further outreach and education to hospitals is needed.

Learning Areas:
Advocacy for health and health education
Communication and informatics
Implementation of health education strategies, interventions and programs
Provision of health care to the public
Public health or related laws, regulations, standards, or guidelines
Public health or related public policy

Learning Objectives:
1. Evaluate the level at which Wisconsin hospitals are providing oral and written education regarding emergency contraception to victims of sexual assault. 2. Assess the number of hospitals who consistently offer emergency contraception to victims when requested. 3. Discuss barriers to compliance with the Compassionate Care for Rape Victims Act based on survey responses. 4. Formulate next steps for increasing the quality of care provided in sexual assault situations.

Keywords: Women's Health, Sexual Assault

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: As an MPH Candidate and women's health advocate who oversees research, outreach and education for the Wisconsin Alliance for Women's Health, I am qualified to present on this topic.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.