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Immediate Intervention for Sexual Assault: A Review with Recommendations and Implications for Practitioners

NCJ Number
Journal of Aggression, Maltreatment and Trauma Volume: 18 Issue: 4 Dated: June 2009 Pages: 419-441
Suzanne E. Decker; Amy E. Naugle
Date Published
June 2009
23 pages
A review was conducted in the need for immediate intervention for sexual assault followed by recommendations for improved effectiveness in the delivery of services and future implications.
The need for early intervention after sexual assault is clear, and rape crisis center (RCC) services have been designed to provide this early intervention. It is critical to begin collaborative examination of the existing RCCs in the United States to ensure that services provided are optimal and reflect the growing understanding of the healing process. It is clear that researchers can offer much to these services through collaborative research, respecting the wishes and needs of RCCs and their clients, along forming collaborative partnerships in research. Practitioners can offer much to RCCs as sources of referrals, experts on sexual assault task forces, consultants, and collaborators in sensitively designed research. RCCs provide vital early intervention services to sexual assault survivors. This article reviews the history and current status of these services in light of the current literature on trauma intervention, suggesting approaches for RCCs that will be effective and identify supporting evidence for these practices. The role of mental health practitioners in early sexual assault intervention is discussed, with recommendations on how practitioners can work with RCCs to coordinate delivery of the best service. References