Appendix 5: Questions for developing sexual assault response policies

Appendix 5: Questions for developing sexual assault response policies

If you start the process of developing or revising your policy with a meeting that explores resident reporting and facility first response, potential discussion questions follow below.

Note: CSG = Corrections SAFE Guide; PS = PREA standards. Note that for PREA standards, the number before a slash mark pertains to adult facilities and the number after a slash mark pertains to juvenile facilities.  

A. Reporting by Residents
  1. What fears and concerns might residents have that prevent them from reporting sexual assault? (For reference, see CSG: pages 24-25.)
  2. How can policies/procedures address those fears and concerns to encourage reporting among residents? (See PS: 115.251/351: Resident Reporting; 115.216/316: Residents with Disabilities and Residents Who Are Limited English Proficient; 115.254/354: Third-Party Reporting; 115.267/367: Agency Protection Against Retaliation; 115.261/361: Staff and Agency Reporting Duties; and CSG: pages 44-45.)
    • What are the ways a resident can report an assault?
    • Does the facility have a grievance procedure?
    • Do residents know how to report? Is anonymous reporting an option? What kind of outside reporting options do residents have?
    • What steps should the facility take to protect residents and staff who have reported retaliation?
    • What does the employee code-of-conduct policy say about retaliation?
 B. First Response
  1. A resident reports that he or she has been sexually assaulted. What should the first responding staff member do? (See PS: 115.231/331: Employee Training; 115.264/364: Staff first responder duties; and CSG: pages 58-61.)
    • Review PREA standard 115.264/364. What, if anything, would you add to this list? Consider how you would do some of these things in practice.
    • Do the steps change depending on who receives the report—for example, staff versus a contractor or a volunteer?
    • How do the steps change based on the perpetrator of the assault—for example, if the perpetrator is on staff or if the perpetrator is someone in the community, such as an employer or co-worker? 
C. Reporting to Investigators

(See PS: 115.261/361: Staff and Agency Reporting Duties.)

  1. When should the agency’s internal investigator be notified? Who notifies that person and how?
  2. When should the law enforcement agency be notified? Which agency has jurisdiction? Who notifies the agency and how?
  3. For a juvenile detention facility, if and when should the child protective service agency be notified? Who notifies the agency and how? Do other state regulators also need to be notified (such as an agency that oversees residential facilities licensed in the state)? Who notifies them and how?
  4. What are the mandatory reporting requirements for medical and mental health practitioners? For minor residents? For residents who are considered vulnerable adults?
  5. For the juvenile detention facility, when should the following be notified? Who notifies each one and how?
    (See PS 115.361.)

    • Parents or legal guardians, unless the facility has official documentation showing that they should not be notified?
    • Victim’s caseworker, if the child is under the guardianship of the child welfare system?
    • Victim’s attorney or legal representative, if the child is under the jurisdiction of the juvenile court system?
    • Is there anyone else who needs to be notified?
D. Forensic Medical Exams

(See PS: 115.221/321: Evidence Protocol and Forensic Medical Examinations; and CSG, pages (41-44.)

  1. Who evaluates the resident and decides whether he or she should be offered a forensic medical exam?
  2. What evidence collection is done on-site, if any, before the resident goes to the hospital?  Who collects it?
  3. Will the facility notify the hospital before transporting a resident for a forensic medical exam?
  4. Who will be responsible for transporting residents to the hospital for a forensic medical exam?
  5. How will victims be secured during transport, if at all?
  6. Where will facility staff be during the exam?
    • Waiting area?
    • Providing a security presence in the exam room?
  7. What role will the facility play, if any, in notifying a community sexual assault victim advocate to come to the hospital?
  8. How will any treatment plans, instructions for follow-up tests, or prescriptions travel back to the facility?
E. Victim Services

(See PS: 115.221/321: Evidence Protocol and Forensic Medical Examinations; 115.253/353: Resident Access to Outside Confidential Support Services/Resident Access to Outside Support Services and Legal Representation; and CSG: pages 36-41.)

  1. What is the scope of services that the community sexual assault advocacy organization will provide? Consider the scope of services for both immediate reports of abuse and delayed reports of abuse.
    1. Hospital advocacy
    2. Hotline/crisis intervention
    3. Follow-up services
  2. What kind of coordination needs to take place between the facility and the advocacy organization to ensure easy access to services? Is a formal MOU necessary?
  3. For juvenile detention facilities, what role will the state child welfare agency play, if any, in providing services to residents who are abused at the facility?
F. In-House Medical and Mental Health Services

(See PS: 115.282/382: Access to Emergency Medical and Mental Health Services.)

  1. What medical and mental health services are available to residents? Consider services for both immediate reports of abuse and delayed reports of abuse.
  2. How do residents access these services?
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