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Preparing Your Program To Meet the Unique Needs of Survivors

As stated earlier, it is impossible to anticipate every situation that might arise due to the unique needs of each patient. Unique needs can arise based on age, cultural identity, sexual orientation, gender identity, disability, language, religion, social status, occupation, and many other factors that ultimately define who we are as humans. Programs should be aware that some survivors may have experienced multiple types of victimization or have witnessed violence in their home, at school, or in the community. Using a patient-centered approach, patients should be given the opportunity to determine which factors are important to their care. By using the Duffy Caring Factors49  of human respect and mutual problem solving, the medical forensic examination and other aspects of care can be adapted to meet the specific needs of each patient. Many sources for information and advocacy address the unique needs that specific populations may have during a medical forensic examination. A list of patient populations, and some of the specific resources for providing patient-centered and trauma-informed care to them, follows.

Table A: Populations With Unique Needs

Populations With Unique Needs Resources

Adolescent Sexual Assault Victims’ Experiences with SANE-SARTs and the Criminal Justice System

Sexual Violence Against Youth and Young People - NSVRC 

Linking the Roads: Working with Youth Who Experience Homelessness & Sexual Violence - NSVRC 

Adults Molested as Children

Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network (RAINN)

African-American Resources

The Truth Commission on Black Women and Sexual Violence

Sexual Violence in the Lives of African American Women 

Sexual Violence in the Lives of African American Women (includes health impacts section) an online forum archive

American Indian/Alaska Native

Maze of Injustice from Amnesty International 

Southwest Center for Law and Policy 

Mending the Sacred Hoop 

National Sexual Violence Resource Center: Sexual Assault in Indian Country: Confronting Sexual Violence

Tribal Law and Policy Institute: Sexual Assault Response Teams: A Resource Guide for the Development of a SART in Tribal Communities

Americans Overseas 

Pathways to Safety International Crisis Center 

Help for U.S. Citizen Victims of Crime Overseas

Addressing Sexual Assault While Abroad 

Asian and Pacific Islander Resources

Asian Pacific Institute on Gender-Based Violence 

National Organization of Asians and Pacific Islanders Ending Sexual Violence

College Students

Addressing Sexual Assault While Abroad 

Not Alone 

Culture of Respect

Alcohol-Related Sexual Assault: A Common Problem among College Students

Overview: Campus Sexual Violence Prevention - NSVRC

Help for U.S. Citizen Victims of Crime Overseas

Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing Resources

Special Collection: Violence in the Lives of the Deaf or Hard-of-Hearing 

Culture, Language, and Access: Key Considerations for Serving Deaf Survivors of Domestic and Sexual Violence

Understanding the Needs of the Victims of Sexual Assault in the Deaf Community

Eight Step Advocacy Plan for Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing Survivors of Sexual Assault 

Elder Adult Resources

Responding to Elder Abuse: What Community Corrections Should Know (August 2010)

Responding to Elder Abuse: What Law Enforcement Should Know (August 2010)

Sexual Violence in Later Life Research Brief, NSVRC 

NSVRC Sexual Violence in Later Life Resources

Homeless Persons

Housing and Sexual Violence

Housing and Sexual Violence Collection NSVRC

Human Trafficking

Assisting Trafficking Victims Information Packet - NSVRC

Toolkit to Combat Trafficking in Persons - United Nations

Human Trafficking Task Force e-Guide

National Human Trafficking Hotline

Services Available to Victims of Human Trafficking: A Resource Guide for Social Service Providers

Screening for Human Trafficking: Guidelines for Administering the Trafficking Victim Identification Tool (TVIT)

Resource Guide for health care practitioners (identifying and communicating with victims of human trafficking)


Dynamics of Sexual Assault and the Implications for Immigrant Women 

Domestic Violence, Sexual Assault & Work: Issues for Undocumented Workers Your Legal Rights

Catholic Legal Immigration Network, INC

Immigration Options for Victims of Crimes

Immigration Relief for Crime Victims: The U Visa Manual

Incarcerated Survivors

National PREA Resource Center

PREA Data Collection Activities, 2015

Understanding Rape in Prison - PCAR

Mental Illness and Sexual Abuse Behind Bars 

Latino/Spanish Language Resources

Spanish Language Resources for Sexual Assault Patients 

Reaching Latino Victims of Sexual Violence: A Marketing Toolkit

Key Findings from 'Sexual Violence Victimization and Association with Health in a Community Sample of Hispanic Women  

NSVRC online forum archive on Multilingual Access and the National Needs Assessment

Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Queer, and Two-Spirit

Sexual Violence and Individuals Who Identify as LGBTQ Information Packet - NSVRC

Top Health Issues for LGBT Populations Information and Resource Kit

Shades of Change: A Guide for Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Service Providers Working with LGBT People of Color

Limited English Proficiency (LEP)

National Council on Interpreting in Health Care

Think Cultural Health Language Guide

HHS resource on culturally and linguistically appropriate health care

Male Survivors

Male Survivors

Female Perpetrators and Male Victims of Sexual Assault: Why They are so Invisible 

Effective Language 1in6

Mental Illness

40% of women with severe mental illness are victims of rape or attempted rape 

Mental Illness and Sexual Abuse Behind Bars 

Military Resources

Department of Defense Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Office (SAPRO)
The Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Office (SAPRO) works with each of the Services and local communities to develop and implement sexual assault prevention and response programs.

Department of Defense Safe Helpline: Sexual Assault Support for the DoD Community
The Department of Defense contracted with RAINN to provide independent and anonymous services for this hotline.

Strengthening Military Civilian Partnerships to Respond to Sexual Assault Training
Strengthening Military-Civilian Community Partnerships to Respond to Sexual Assault is an interactive 2-day training that will help participants establish partnerships with local military installations in order to respond effectively to the needs of sexual assault victims in the military.

Patients With Physical and Cognitive Disabilities/ Disability Resources

Victims with Disabilities: The Forensic Interview—Techniques for Interviewing Victims with Communication and/or Cognitive Disabilities (January 2012)

A Law Enforcement Guide for Working with Children with Autism, Intellectual and Communication Disabilities

Supporting Crime Victims With Disabilities Curriculum – OVC TTAC 

Considerations for Victims with Cognitive and Communication Disabilities - NSVRC 

This presentation will help advocates and allied victim service professionals identify some of the ways in which people with communication disabilities may relay messages, both verbally and nonverbally, and highlights some techniques and technologies that can help bridge the language gap in order to provide quality sexual violence services. (27 minutes) 


Through Our Eyes: Children, Violence, and Trauma (Last Updated April 2014)

Sexual Violence Against Children - NSVRC

From Approach to Practice: Improving outcomes for children after sexual abuse - NSVRC 

A National Protocol for Sexual Abuse Medical Forensic Examinations: Pediatric (Pediatric SAFE Protocol)


The Advocates for Human Rights – Sexual Assault Against Refugees

Religious Resources

Violence Against Women and the Role of Religion

Sexuality and Sexual Violence in Religious Texts: An Annotated Bibliography

Runaway Youth

National Center for Missing and Exploited Children

Unaccompanied Youth Fast Facts

Homeless Youth and Sexual Violence

Homeless Youth National Conference of State Legislatures

Homeless, Runaway & Throwaway Youth: Sexual Victimization and the Consequences of Life on the Streets

Cultural Considerations When Working with Homeless, Runaway and Sexually Exploited Youth

Linking the Roads: Working with Youth Who Experience Homelessness & Sexual Violence by the NSVRC (2014)

Rural Resources  

Stopping the Stigma: Public Perceptions of Sexual Assault in Rural Communities

Unspoken Crimes: Sexual Assault in Rural America 

Sexual Assault in Rural Communities

Rural Domestic and Sexual Abuse Program Advocates: Making a Difference in the Lives of Older Survivors of Abuse

Sexual Violence in Rural Communities NSVRC 

Implementing SANE Programs in Rural Communities: The West Virginia Regional Mobile SANE Project

Stalking Resources

Stalking Resource Center

Torture Survivors

Heal – Provider Resources

Transgender Resources

Responding to Transgender Victims of Sexual Assault 

Transgender Sexual Violence Survivors A Self Help Guide to Healing and Understanding

Pronouns and Trans People

Creating a Trans-Welcoming Environment


U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Military Sexual Trauma


It is important to understand systems of oppression and discrimination as you develop a SANE program. A suggested reading list follows.

An Integrated Anti-Oppression Framework for Reviewing and Developing Policy

Anti-Oppressive Practices