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Sexual Assault, Emergency Medicine

Reviewed 06/2017



Specific legal definition varies from state to state: 
  • Nonconsensual completed or attempted penetration between the penis and vulva or penis and anus

  • Nonconsensual contact between the ...


Signs and Symptoms

  • Victims might not disclose assault:

    • Most will reveal the history only in response to direct questions.

  • Tachycardia or pounding heart beat

  • Headaches

  • Nausea

  • Back pain

  • Skin problems

  • ...



  • Treat patient in a kind, nonjudgmental manner.

  • C-spine immobilization for patients with head/neck trauma

Initial Stabilization/Therapy

Treat life-threatening injuries. 

Ed Treatment/Procedures



Admission Criteria

Serious traumatic injury 

Discharge Criteria

  • Medical follow-up for culture and HIV test results and monitoring of HIV prophylactic medication side effects (if appl...

Pearls and Pitfalls

  • ∼70% of rape victims do not tell their doctors or seeking mental health services

  • Most victims will not disclose assault, unless in response to direct questions.

  • Most of the pediatric...

Additional Reading

  • Campbell  R, Patterson  D, Lichty  LF, et al. The effectiveness of sexual assault nurse examiner (SANE) programs: A review of psychological, medical, legal, and community outcomes. ...



  • 995.53 Child sexual abuse

  • 995.83 Adult sexual abuse

  • V71.5 Observation following alleged rape or seduction

  • 922.4 Contusion of genital organs

  • 878.6 Open wound of vagina, without mention of complic...

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