In 1997, Victim Rights Advocacy, a non-profit agency in Ohio, and the Center for Social Work Research at The University of Texas in Austin collaboratively conducted an evaluation of the effectiveness and utilization of the Ohio Department of Health (ODH) Protocol for the Treatment of Sexual Assault Survivors. The ODH Protocol was developed in 1991-1992 by a multi-disciplinary team of experts. This 118-page manual was followed by a videotape and a training guide, an outline form of the manual. In order to complete the evaluation, the following components were implemented:

  • a survey regarding policies and procedures for treating sexual assault patients was sent to Ohio hospitals with emergency departments;
  • follow-up telephone interviews were made to hospitals that didn’t return a survey;
  • anonymous surveys were completed by victims; and
  • site visits were conducted at 20 emergency departments in diverse areas of Ohio.

Results indicated that 64% of hospitals use the ODH Protocol solely or in combination with another procedure. Overall, survey and site visits indicated that the ODH Sexual Assault Protocol was rated by nurse managers as “good” for preparing hospital staff to treat sexual assault patients. Survey participants indicated that training is needed in several areas, specifically testifying in court, cultural awareness, and the needs of special populations such as male, gay, lesbian, and bisexual victims. Both surveys and site visits indicate a need for follow-up services for survivors and written information given to survivors about these services. Seventeen specific recommendations from the hospital surveys and site visits were presented in the final report for ODH.

Ohio Department of Health
Victim Rights Advocacy, Inc., Oxford, Ohio