Cal SAFE Letter on DIY Kits

Sep 6, 2021

The California Sexual Assault Forensic Examiners Association (CalSAFE) represents the 49 Sexual Assault Forensic Exam (SAFE) teams that cover all 58 counties in California. These are teams of medical forensic examiners, who respond to survivors seeking specialized medical care after sexual assault and intimate partner violence, and conduct over 8,000 exams per year. There has been recent news coverage that misrepresents how California Sexual Assault Forensic Exam Teams are managing the care of their patients during the COVID-19 outbreak. We want to make sure the public understands the story reported in the media of California exam teams resorting to “at home” or “do-it yourself” “rape” kits is not supported by CalSAFE. Before widespread dissemination of this misrepresentation of the situation in California occurs, we want to be clear that this is not the standard of practice for our California exam teams. Sexual Assault Forensic Examiners are essential healthcare providers, now more than ever. COVID-19 did not stop adult and child sexual assault or physical violence. SAFE teams of highly skilled, specialized, and trauma-informed healthcare providers will continue to be on the frontlines to care for and to perform these exams at a time-critical to patients with the proper support. We understand there are challenges when disaster planning for a specialty care model such as forensic medical care; therefore, CalSAFE developed guidelines to help support exam teams during these challenging times. These guidelines can be found at http://www.calsafe.net/covid-19- guidance.html

Sexual Assault Forensic Examiners provide professional, healing care in a safe environment, while following scientific principles of medical forensic examinations and evidence collection. If there is not a medical provider involved there is not an opportunity for full medical evaluation and documentation of injury, emergent STI treatment, HIV testing or medication prophylaxis, and the opportunity to receive emergency contraception all that must be given in a timely manner. We encourage the multidisciplinary Sexual Assault Response Teams in each county to come together during these times and support each other…our patients deserve it. Stay Safe CalSAFE For more information on CalSAFE Visit: http://www.calsafe.net/