A care package for managing female sexual assault in genitourinary medicine

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This paper describes the development of a designated in-house service for the management of adult female victims of sexual assault within the Department of Genitourinary Medicine (GUM) at St Mary's Hospital, London. This was set up in 1994 as a need was identified by medical, nursing, psychological and health advising staff for an appropriate streamlined service which would provide comprehensive sexual health screening, psychological support and therapy and adequate medico-legal documentation within the limitations of a busy GUM clinic. A structured package of care consisting of medical and psychological protocols with training for relevant staff and a specialist in-house referral clinic was introduced. Fifty-four patients were seen during the first 17 months of the service, the notes of 48 of these were examined and relevant epidemiological and audit data are presented here. By auditing the quality of documentation before and after the introduction of the protocols specifically looking at the appropriateness and comprehensiveness of the sexually transmitted diseases screen and the medico-legal documentation it was clear that the quality of care to these patients was improved. We present here the development of these protocols, a detailed description of the protocols themselves and the method of their implementation.

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