Master List of
New Directions Recommendations
Directions from the Field:
Rights and Services for the 21st Century
for the Health Care Community
The recommendations below, which
appear in the May 1998 New Directions Report, have been reformatted
for replication and distribution.
|The health care, social service, criminal and juvenile justice, and other professional communities must integrate their response to violence if crime victims are to be provided a safety net that functions effectively. Health care professionals are beginning to recognize that they must cooperate with and understand justice and other allied professionals' roles when responding to criminal victimization. Many medical associations and professional organizations have taken a strong and visible role in efforts to reduce violence and create a safer, healthier society. To ensure these important efforts continue, the following recommendations for health care professionals are set forth by the field:
- All professional schools that
educate future health care professionals, including schools of medicine,
nursing, social work, rehabilitation, hospital administration, and public
health, should incorporate victim issues into their curricula.
- All patients should be routinely
assessed for indications of domestic abuse or other history of violence,
and any signs or symptoms of abuse should be documented in their medical
- Hospitals should establish training
programs and protocols for all hospital personnel about the rights and
needs of victims of crime.
- Medical facilities including
hospitals and rehabilitation and trauma centers should serve as gateways
to assist victims of crime. Response staff should be available in these
settings to provide onsite crisis counseling, followup with patients,
and serve as links to inhouse and community resources.
- Victims of sexual assault should
be given emergency medical care, forensic examinations, and testing
for HIV and sexually transmitted diseases at no out-of-pocket cost and
in a supportive setting. More hospitals should consider establishing
Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner programs to respond sensitively to the
needs of sexual assault victims.
- Cultural competency guidelines
should be developed to help health care providers improve screening
and intervention services for victims from diverse backgrounds.
- Medical personnel should be
knowledgeable about and have policies in place to ensure that statutory
privacy protections are applied to medical records, abuse reporting
forms, and medical legal evidence. They should respect the confidentiality
and privacy needs of all victims of crime and assist them in dealing
with unwanted media attention, especially in cases of sexual assault
and assaults on children
- Counseling and prevention programs
and/or a referral system to such programs should be established in medical
facilities that treat violence-related injury, including gunshot victims,
to address the broad spectrum of needs of these victims.
- Protocols for appropriate security
and safety procedures should be developed to assist hospital personnel
in responding to incidents of gang, family, and other violence that
might result in staff victimization.
- Pediatricians, family practitioners,
internists, and other health care professionals treating young children
should be educated about the effects on children of witnessing domestic
violence and violence in the community.
- Technology should be utilized
to improve medical services for crime victims, especially in underserved
and rural areas.
- Statutes and policies should
be adopted to prevent insurance companies from discriminating against
victims of crime by denying and/or canceling coverage or by charging
higher premiums for such coverage.
- All health care professionals
should be educated about sensitive death notification techniques.
- Catastrophic physical injury
victims, including assault and drunk driving crash survivors with serious
injuries, should receive specialized neuropsychological evaluation in
health care facilities.
|New Directions from the
Victims' Rights and Services for the 21st Century