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Medical Advocacy

IowaCASA works with allied organizations to improve and expand medical advocacy programs throughout the state. This is especially important in rural areas. 

We regularly work with the Iowa Department of Public Health and the Iowa Attorney General's Office. This helps to ensure that evidence collection kits and protocols for responses to sexual violence are updated and revised as needed. We also provide relevant and helpful information to those who have experienced sexual violence. 

IowaCASA has training for healthcare professionals such as doctors and nurses. During this training, we discuss how the healthcare community can better respond to individuals who have experienced sexual violence. We also train Sexual Assault Nurse Examiners on a "trauma-informed approach" to collecting forensic evidence from victims. A trauma-informed approach looks at how trauma affects the victim, addresses the consequences of all kinds of trauma, and works to facilitate healing. 

IowaCASA also coordinates Sexual Assault Response Teams across the state. Sexual Assault Response Teams include Sexual Assault Nurse Examiners, officials from law enforcement, and advocates from sexual assault service programs. 

Through the collaboration of Sexual Assault Response Teams and Sexual Assault Nurse Examiners, we have found:​

Better collaboration with law enforcement

Sexual Assault Nurse Examiners help police obtain records of exams in a more timely fashion. They help the police interpret the findings for them when necessary. 

Higher reporting rates

These programs help provide resources and support to those who have experienced sexual violence. This support can lead to an increase in reporting by victims. However, it's important to note that it is always the victim's choice whether they decide to report what happened to them. 

Shortening of exam time

Sexual Assault Nurse Examiners shorten the time that an individual who has experienced sexual violence spends in the emergency room. A Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner stays with the victim until the entire exam is completed. 


Better forensic evidence collection

The quality of evidence collected has improved over the years that the Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner program has operated. Today, forensic evidence collection is more complete. This helps in obtaining conviction for those who wish to pursue civil remedies through the court system.

For more information on medical advocacy and the training IowaCASA provides, email us at

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