Webinar: De-mystifying Care of Patients with Mental Illness Following a Sexual Assault

Webinar: De-mystifying Care of Patients with Mental Illness Following a Sexual Assault


From 2:00 PM until 3:30 PM

International Association of Forensic Nurses - SAFE TA Webinar Series

Recent research suggests that up to 40% of patients who present for care following a sexual assault have some history of mental illness. But there has been limited academic work that examines unique considerations that may arise when caring for this patient population. How do we best provide medical care and forensic services for patients with mental illness in the acute setting following a reported sexual assault? How do we determine when it is, and is not, appropriate to offer a sexual assault medical forensic exam (SAMFE)?

In this webinar, an interdisciplinary panel of SANEs and psychiatrists will highlight some of the challenges faced and questions that may arise, including:

  • What does the research suggest about prevalence of various mental illness among victims of sexual assault? What is the relationship between experiencing trauma and developing symptoms of mental illness? What are the practice implications?
  • What are some circumstances in which a patient’s mental illness may limit their capacity to consent an SAMFE? How should we perform capacity assessments in these patients?
  • What signs and symptoms of mental illness may not preclude capacity, but otherwise interfere with the SAMFE? How can we conceptualize other factors of a patient’s presentation when assessing whether the SAMFE is appropriate?
  • What are some approaches that can be used when providing a SAMFE to a patient with mental illness, to facilitate delivery of compassionate and safe care?


  • Dr. Kevin Brown, Assistant Professor of Psychiatry, University of Texas Southwestern
  • Dr. Nancy Downing, RN, SANE-A, Associate Professor of Nursing, Texas A&M University
  • Dr. Eleanore Knox, Psychiatry Resident, University of Texas at Southwestern
  • Leslie Miles, DNP, PMHNP-BC, Assistant Professor of Nursing, Brigham Young University
  • Dr. Julie Valentine, RN, CNE, SANE-A, Assistant Professor of Nursing, Brigham Young University. 

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