Examining the Implementation of the SAFE Protocol
A National Snapshot and Case Study Analysis
Released in 2013, the second edition of the National Protocol for Sexual Assault Medical Forensic Examinations, or SAFE Protocol, is a voluntary guide developed by the Department of Justice that assists local and state jurisdictions with their responses to sexual assault. It institutionalizes best practices around survivor care and evidence collection, particularly for sexual assault nurse examiners completing medical forensic examinations.
In 2018, the Urban Institute and the International Association of Forensic Nurses were funded by the Office on Violence Against Women to conduct an evaluation of the SAFE Protocol with the aim of understanding the extent to which its provisions have been implemented across the United States. This mixed-methods study incorporates the perspectives of stakeholders in the sexual assault response system at the state and local levels. Data collection activities included a census of state sexual assault coalitions, a census of state Violence Against Women Act administrators, a national survey of sexual assault nurse examiner programs, a survey of advocates from nonprofit sexual assault service providers and rape crisis centers, and case studies with local stakeholders involved in sexual assault responses.
The project’s practitioner-oriented products summarize findings and recommendations in accessible formats and cover the following topics:
- methods, data-collection activities, and participants of the study
- stakeholders’ awareness of the SAFE Protocol and their perspectives on its strengths and challenges
- key components of sustaining a community-based response to survivors of sexual assault
- payment practices for sexual assault medical forensic exams
- stakeholders’ reported familiarity with and their knowledge, implementation, and adoption of the SAFE Protocol, and guidance for future training and technical assistance efforts
Check back soon for forthcoming journal articles and blogs.