Current Projects

Most often, our research and evaluation projects focus on understanding and improving
within and between system responses to gender-based violence. Our work takes us into the criminal legal system, medical system, community-based organizations, and state agencies. Because we are committed to social justice and action, and to the continued development of the field of community psychology as a means to facilitate social change, we also pursue projects to these ends.

Examining the SANE and TeleSANE patient experience: An evaluation and tool development

Sexual assault nurse examiners (SANEs) are specially trained to provide expert, comprehensive, first-response medical forensic care for sexual assault survivors. While SANEs have traditionally provided care in person, many communities across the country are now also using telehealth technology to provide their patients and on-site clinicians access to SANE care and expertise. While the practice of TeleSANE is promising and early evaluations demonstrate providers’ satisfaction with the model, little is known about the patient experience. Even in-person SANEs often do not have the opportunity to learn from their patients about their experiences so as to inform care provision. This project is an evaluation of the patient experience with in-person SANE and TeleSANE care. In this mixed methods evaluation, we center sexual assault survivors to learn about their experiences receiving care, and to develop, pilot, and finalize a patient experience assessment tool that can be used by in-person SANE and TeleSANE programs to support ongoing monitoring and improvement.

Funded by the U.S. Department of Justice, Office on Violence Against Women

Evaluation of a cross-system cooperative response to adolescent sexual assault victims

Adolescents experience higher rates of sexual assault than any other age group. They also have unique needs posts-assault, in part due to their legal ability to consent to sexual activity, their ability to access post-assault services without an adult, and whether their assault falls within the scope of mandatory child abuse reporting laws. This project evaluates a unique, coordinated, multidisciplinary mandated reporting response to adolescent sexual assault victims. The response, involving sexual assault nurse examiners, child protection services, police, and prosecutors, has the potential to increase rates of prosecution of adolescent sexual assault cases. However, it is unknown how this response impacts teens’ post-assault help-seeking experiences. This project relies on a researcher-practitioner partnership to conduct a mixed method multi-study evaluation of the mandatory reporting response on adolescents’ experiences seeing help post-assault and adolescent sexual assault case progression in the criminal legal system.

Funded by the U.S. Department of Justice, Office on Violence Against Women