Managing COVID-19

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Managing COVID-19

COVID-19 is a new respiratory virus. Now that COVID-19 is spreading in Utah, this can impact our services to survivors and our abilities to stay at full staffing.  Although there are many unknowns, here are some considerations for sexual assault programs and other providing services in high risk areas.

Telecommuting and Confidentiality:

  • Confidential work space: each program will need to work with advocates to assess their remote work spaces and if confidential services can be provided. If, for example, an advocate's partner is also temporarily working from home, the advocate will need to ensure there is a soundproof room in which to provide phone services. These are of course, case-by-case supervisory discussions.

  • Temporary file storage: if advocates need to work remotely for some time, they will likely need to bring client files home. Best practice would be to get a password lock document bag or locking clipboard for advocates working remotely so they can store files confidentially. Both items can be found on Amazon for $20-30. With electronic files, the program will want to set expectations and perhaps policy for advocates who will share a computer at home with partners, children, or others. The policy/supervision expectations should address signing in and out of databases, clearing history, etc. to protect confidentiality.

  • Reimbursement: programs may need to reimburse advocates for personal cell phone usage or modify their mileage reimbursement policies (some programs base reimbursement on distance from the office, but that wouldn't work). An advocate that pays per minute for cell usage will probably go over their minutes if they are using it for service provision.

  • Check out the National Network to End Domestic Violence's resource on using digital services during a public health crisis.

Hospital Accompaniment:

Use your best judgement when determining if folks should provide accompaniment services to individuals in hospitals and working with advocates to determine risk. If folks have colds, history of respiratory illnesses, compromised immune systems, or other health issues, they may not be the best candidate for providing accompaniment to the hospital. It makes sense to take precautions.

 

Engage in recommended prevention:

  • Cough or sneeze into your elbow.
  • Wash hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available. Add hand sanitizer and disinfecting wipes to your hospital "go bag. " Clean your cell phone often. Wipe down surfaces.
  • Avoid touching your face when possible and wash your hands if you do touch your face.
  • If you are sick, stay home.

Planning Ahead:

Connect with your hospital partners about their current procedures for limiting exposure to workers and patients not impacted by the novel coronavirus. At some point, the hospital may also be working to triage non-emergency clients with increased cases. Talk with them about contingency plans and a threshold where it could impact exams to survivors.

Although CSAP contracts require hospital accompaniment to be provided to people who have been sexually assaulted, we recognize that your community may be experiencing unique risk factors related to COVID19. 

Stay Up-to-Date:

For state and county specific information access the Utah State Department of Health 2019 Novel Coronavirus Outbreak (COVID-19) https://coronavirus.utah.gov/

Additional Resources 

https://www.who.int/docs/default-source/coronaviruse/getting-workplace-ready-for-covid-19.pdf

https://doxy.me/

https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/community/guidance-business-response.html

 

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5 Key Concepts of SANE Care

 

Dear Sexual Assault Service Providers,
I am sending you this information with the 5 Key Concepts of SANE care in mind. Those key concepts
are:
1. Patient-centered care
2. Trauma- Informed care
3. Evidence-based practice
4. Multidisciplinary team approach
5. Recognizing community uniqueness
See OVC SANE Program Development and Operations Guide
https://www.ovcttac.gov/saneguide/introduction/building-a-theoretical-framework-for-sane-practice/

1. Patient-centered care- Realize that providing care during a pandemic adds significant stressors
to an already stressful event. In addition to dealing with their own assault patients may be
worried about family members at risk or have financial stressors that are causing distress.
a. Anticipate potential situations that might decrease access to care:
i. Strict visitor policies that might limit support persons. Many hospitals are
limiting visitation to only 2 visitors per patient. Find out now if that will limit
access for advocates.
ii. Payment issues. It is an ongoing struggle to make sure patients are never billed
for their exams. As hospitals struggle to keep up with high volumes of patients,
make sure your patients know what to do if they receive a bill after an exam.
Plan to be more aggressive about follow-up calls to check on patients.
iii. Don’t be afraid to slow the process down and take the time to reassure patients.
2. Trauma- informed care- The pandemic is causing extreme levels of stress in many people. Add a
history of previous trauma and a new trauma and you may have patients who are displaying
increased symptoms or may be more easily triggered.
a. Be aware that stress can trigger other chronic health concerns
i. Patients may be self-medicating with alcohol and drugs
ii. Trauma nightmares may become more frequent and sleep more interrupted
iii. Hotlines may be getting more calls from people with histories of previous
trauma

3. Evidence- based practice – We should be making decisions based on good scientific evidence. At
this point in the epidemic we do not have all of the answers.
a. What we know about the COVID-19
i. Spread by droplet
ii. Best protection is good hand washing and social distancing
b. What can you do to reduce the risk to you and your patients?
i. Don’t come to work if you are sick

ii. Wash your hands -20 seconds of scrubbing with soap and water
iii. If you use hand sanitizer – wet all surfaces of your hands and rub until they are
dry.
iv. Get a flu shot if you have not already been vaccinated
v. If you have a chronic condition such diabetes or heart disease you may want to
talk to your health care provider about potential risks if you are responding to a
hospital.

4. Multidisciplinary team approach – We have never done this work in a vacuum and that does not
change during an epidemic.
a. If you decide to make changes to your response protocol make sure you notify and get
input from all team members.

5. Recognizing community uniqueness- Each SANE program, Advocacy Program and SART will have
specific needs that must be addressed.
a. Below I am going to describe what we are planning for Utah County. Many of you may
not be able to duplicate our process, but hopefully this will give you some ideas to
discuss with your SART about how to prepare as the epidemic hits our communities. You
may have resources that others do not have. Don’t be afraid to think out of the box.
Finally, what I have written is this document is based on my knowledge and experience. It is not legal
advice, medical advice or any type of mandate from UCASA. Stay up to date on recommendations from
state and local officials. Work closely with your SANEs if they are hospital based and work closely with
your hospitals if you are community based. Be prepared that things could change rapidly.
Here are some trusted sites of information:
Utah Health Department https://coronavirus.utah.gov/
Centers for Disease Control https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html
National Sexual Violence Resource Center -Disaster Preparedness

https://www.nsvrc.org/projects/preventing-sexual-violence-disasters/sexual-violence-disasters-online-
special-collection/disaster-preparedness-resources

Here are the steps we have started to take for Wasatch Forensic Nurses in Utah County. Nothing is
finalized and I am sharing this so you can see what kinds of things we considering.
1. We are concerned that emergency rooms may become overcrowded with infected patients.
2. We have identified an alternative site for care and are seeking permission from the Gappmayer
Clinic to use their exam room to provide medical forensic exams 24/7 if the EDs become
unmanageable.
3. We will need to determine a contact person at all of the Utah Valley hospitals to keep informed
of room availability.

4. If we need to use the clinic, we will need to notify law enforcement about contacting WFN
before they send a patient to any location for an exam.
5. Nurses will need to be able to screen sexual assault patients before they are sent to the clinic.
Screening is important for both potential COVID-19 infection and medical conditions that would
make it inappropriate to be seen in a clinic setting ex. Unconsciousness, bleeding. Unless nurses
have the proper infection equipment patient with the virus should be seen in a hospital setting.
Remember the medial needs of the patient are always the first priority.
6. Advocate will be notified to respond to where the patient is being seen.
7. Other things to consider – How will you provide supplies and medications if you are seeing your
patient in a different location.? Is your alternative site safe at night and handicap accessible?
8. We have not thought of everything and going through a practice run might help identify gaps in
your plans.

Please take care of yourself and try to eat right and get plenty of rest. This may take a few weeks or
months to completely resolve and we want you safe and healthy for the long run. Remember you do
amazing work every day and make an incredible difference in the lives of survivors. Feel free to reach
out to UCASA if you need help or support.

Susan Chasson
Statewide SANE Coordinator
susan@ucasa.org

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Utah Coalition Against Sexual Assault (UCASA) Opposes “Do it Yourself” Rape Kits

Salt Lake City, Utah, September 4, 2019 -- Utah Coalition Against Sexual Assault (UCASA) Opposes “Do it Yourself” Rape Kits. Students returning to classes this fall may be receiving advertising about “do to yourself” sexual assault evidence collection kits. The Utah Coalition Against Sexual Assault (UCASA) would like survivors of rape and sexual assault to know that there is help available by calling the Statewide 24 Hour Sexual Violence Crisis and Information Hotline at 801-421-1100. One phone call connects a survivor with a trained rape crisis advocate who can discuss options for obtaining a medical forensic examination that includes a thorough medical evaluation, forensic evidence collection and treatment to prevent pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections.

UCASA understands that in the aftermath of a sexual assault, survivors may need time before deciding whether or not to participate with the criminal justice system. In Utah adult sexual assault survivors can have evidence collected and sent for analysis without being interviewed by law enforcement. It is important for survivors of rape and sexual assault to have choices that are meaningful, including the ability to preserve forensic evidence in a manner can be used to prosecute cases of sexual violence. At this time “do it yourself kits’” have multiple limitations. There is no guarantee that these kits will be accepted by law enforcement or can be analyzed by crime labs. Survivors who use these kits are not connected to important community resources including counseling, medical care and ongoing services to support them if they choose to engage with the criminal justice system. UCASA wants every survivor to be provided with individualized support and care that is often needed to start the process of healing after a sexual assault. UCASA works closely with victim advocates and sexual assault nurse examiners (SANEs) to make sure survivors obtain the trauma-informed and victim-centered care they need.

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If you would like more information about this topic, please contact Board Chair, CoCo James at (801) 347-6094 or SANE Program Manager, Susan Chasson at (801) 376-6962.

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Mobile Application For Sexual Assault Survivors Launches

Mobile Application For Sexual Assault Survivors Launches

YAS_App_Postcard.pngSalt Lake City, Utah, February 16, 2018– Today the Utah Coalition Against Sexual Assault announced the launch of a new mobile application called You Are A Survivor. The new mobile application is designed to support sexual assault survivors and their families. After several months of testing and development, this all-mobile experience puts important resources and support in the hands of sexual assault survivors and their families. It is available free of charge on the Apple Store and Google Play Store.

The You Are A Survivor mobile application includes a variety of information, resources, and links to service providers.

“Today marks the beginning of a new era in our efforts to serve sexual assault survivors across the state. This mobile application is the culmination of decades of innovation aimed at reducing the isolation that many survivors feel after an assault.” -Turner C. Bitton, Executive Director

The You Are A Survivor mobile application features:

  • Resources for Survivors: reporting options, understanding trauma, legal options, and the rights of victims.
  • Resources for Friends and Family: understanding what is happening, supporting your loved one, reporting options, and responding to child sexual abuse.

Subsequent updates and versions of the You Are A Survivor mobile application are planned. Additional resources and information are added regularly. Users can download the app at UCASA.org/app.

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If you would like more information about this topic, please contact Turner Bitton at (801) 746-0404 Ext. 1 or email at turner@ucasa.org.

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Symposium to Address Rise in Online Harassment and Sexually Aggressive Behavior

Salt Lake City, Utah, December 6, 2017- The Utah Coalition Against Sexual Assault (UCASA) announced today a symposium addressing the harassment, violence, and vitriol is present in many online spaces.  The symposium will be held at the University of Utah on January 16, 2018. UCASA is welcoming professionals with expertise in all areas of sexual violence prevention and response to gather and facilitate a dialogue with attendees on emerging issues related to sexual violence in digital spaces.

Anyone who actively uses social media or online communications platforms knows that online spaces have grown increasingly unsafe. Our online spaces have fallen victim to unacceptable behavior that is no less damaging than violence in our communities. This symposium is designed to rise to this challenge and utilize primary prevention techniques and digital citiizenship principles to bring safety and justice to our online spaces.

–Turner C. Bitton, Executive Director

This thought-provoking, solution-oriented day of learning and action will focus on strategies to combat the rise of online misogyny, harassment, and violence by utilizing prevention strategies and proven interventions. This symposium is funded with sexual violence prevention funding authorized by the Utah Legislature in 2016 and 2017. The event is free and open to the public. Attached to this release you will find the biographies of those presenting at the conference. A detailed agenda will be available as the event draws nearer. Additional information and registration is available at ucasa.org/silicon.


Amber Morczek

 Amber_Morczek.jpg

Amber Morczek is a Ph.D. Candidate at Washington State University in the Department of Criminal Justice and Criminology. Amber’s research on violence toward women, rape culture, and pornography has been published in the Journal of Interpersonal Violence, Family & Intimate Partner Violence Quarterly, the International Journal of Cyber Criminology, Sexuality & Culture, and The Sexual Assault Report.

In addition to presenting at Universities across the country, she has also delivered presentations on her research to the following state and federal agencies: the New York State Coalition Against Sexual Assault, the Illinois Coalition Against Sexual Assault, the Illinois Coalition Against Domestic Violence, the Wisconsin Coalition Against Sexual Assault, the Colorado Coalition Against Sexual Assault, and the Battered Women's Justice Project.


Daniel Mueller

Daniel_Mueller.jpg

Daniel Mueller is a Ph.D. Candidate at Washington State University in the School of Politics, Philosophy and Public Affairs studying environmental and climate change policy and community sustainability. He also works for the Division of Governmental Studies and Services as a research assistant, working on applied research projects for governmental agencies and nonprofits in the Pacific Northwest.

His research interests have led to publications on sustainability education and aviation biofuel, and his additional interests in environmental theory (including ecofeminism) and technology have led to more recent research projects and a publication on online misogyny in Sexual Assault Report.


Carrie Rogers-Whitehead

Carrie_Rogers-Whitehead.jpegCarrie Rogers-Whitehead is an information professional, instructor, writer, event planner and digital and STEM advocate. She has led and collaborated across sectors in government, academia, nonprofit and business. She has years of experience in curriculum development and is a member of the Utah Instructional Materials Commission.

Carrie is passionate about providing access and opportunities for all and was the 2013 Utah Librarian of the Year, NACo Innovation Award winner and a Red Cross “Community Hero” for her projects with diverse populations. Carrie founded Digital Respons - Ability on those passions and principles: that by working across sectors and being open to innovation, we can improve access to all.

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FILM SCREENING TO EXPLORE THE EXPERIENCES OF MALE SURVIVORS OF SEXUAL VIOLENCE

For immediate release

Film screening to explore the experiences of male survivors of sexual violence

Orem, UT, October 24, 2017– Today the Utah Coalition Against Sexual Assault (UCASA) announced that they, along with a consortium of partners and agencies, will host a screening of the internationally recognized film The Voiceless. This powerful straight to camera film features the stories of five male survivors of sexual violence discusses culture, masculinity, and other important concepts. The film was produced by Vanessa McNeal and PLVTO Pros of Des Moines.

“Every victim deserves justice and we cannot forget that men also experience sexual violence. Male survivors of sexual violence often face unique barriers due to a variety of factors. Our goal with this screening is to shine a light on these factors and to create a dialogue about the needs of male survivors in general.”

 – Turner C. Bitton, Executive Director

The event will be hosted by a group of partner agencies including the Utah Coalition Against Sexual Assault, Men’s Anti-violence Network of Utah, Center for Women and Children in Crisis, and many student groups from UVU. UCASA released these additional details regarding the event:

WHAT: The Voiceless Screening
WHEN: October 24, 2017 – 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.
WHERE: Utah Valley University, Sorenson Student Center, Centre Stage 800 W University Pkwy Orem, UT 84058
REGISTRATION: www.ucasa.org/the_voiceless_screening_utah_county

If you would like more information about this topic, please contact Turner Bitton at (801) 746-0404 Ext. 1 or email at turner@ucasa.org.

 

 

 

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UCASA Seeks Proposals for Graphic Design Services

UCASA Logo.jpg 

Request for Proposals

For Bookkeeping Services

For the period: November 2017 - Ongoing

Inquiries and proposals should be directed to:

Name: Turner C. Bitton
Title: Executive Director
Entity: Utah Coalition Against Sexual Assault
Address: 284 West 400 North Suite Salt Lake City, Utah 84103
Phone: 801-746-0404 Ext. 1
Email: turner@ucasa.org

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UCASA ANNOUNCES APPOINTMENTS TO YOUNG EMERGING LEADERS ADVISORY COUNCIL

For immediate release

Salt Lake City, UT, September 25, 2017– Today the Utah Coalition Against Sexual Assault announced the appointment of twelve young people to the newly formed Young Emerging Leaders Advisory Council (YELAC). The YELAC is a group of community leaders recognized for their dedication to youth leadership, service- learning, diversity, and above all, the elimination of sexual violence in our community. The YELAC brings valuable youth perspectives to our work and is a source of strength for our organization. YELAC works in communities and schools across the state demonstrating that young people are the key to preventing and eliminating sexual violence in our communities.

Young people from across the state were selected based on an application and nomination period. Each will serve a one-year term which can be renewed each year. The goal of the YELAC is to ensure that young people have a voice in the affairs of UCASA.

“Young people are a crucial stakeholder in our efforts to eliminate sexual violence in communities across the state. Each of the incredible young people selected to serve on YELAC has demonstrated their leadership and vision for a state where sexual violence does not exist.” –Turner C. Bitton – Executive Director

YELAC membership consists of monthly meetings, training, and participation in the strategic vision and planning for UCASA. The council is designed to ensure that young people always have a voice in the highest levels of UCASA’s leadership.

Click here and you will find a list of the appointed members. Additional information can be found at UCASA.org/yelac.

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If you would like more information about this topic, please contact Turner Bitton at (801) 746-0404 Ext. 1 or email at turner@ucasa.org. Mr. Bitton will facilitate communication with any of the members of YELAC. 

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FILM SCREENING TO EXPLORE THE EXPERIENCES OF MALE SURVIVORS OF SEXUAL VIOLENCE

For Immediate Release

Salt Lake City, UT, September 20, 2017Today the Utah Coalition Against Sexual Assault (UCASA) announced that they, along with a consortium of partners and agencies, will host a screening of the internationally recognized film The Voiceless. This powerful straight to camera film features the stories of five male survivors of sexual violence discusses culture, masculinity, and other important concepts. The film was produced by Vanessa McNeal and PLVTO Pros of Des Moines.

Every victim deserves justice and we cannot forget that men also experience sexual violence. Male survivors of sexual violence often face unique barriers due to a variety of factors. Our goal with this screening is to shine a light on these factors and to create a dialogue about the needs of male survivors in general.

Turner C. Bitton, Executive Director

The event will be hosted by a group of partner agencies including the Men’s Anti-violence Network of Utah, Talk to a Survivor, the Thayne Center at Salt Lake Community College, Pacific Island Knowledge to Action Resources, South Valley Services, Rape Recovery Center, and Red Mesa Counseling Center. UCASA released these additional details regarding the event:

WHAT: The Voiceless Screening
WHEN: September 27, 2017 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.
WHERE: Salt Lake Community College South City Campus, Multipurpose Room 1575 State St, Salt Lake City, UT 84115
REGISTRATION: www.ucasa.org/voiceless_slcc 

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If you would like more information about this topic, please contact Turner Bitton at (801) 746-0404 Ext. 1 or email at turner@ucasa.org.

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UCASA Condemns Backward Movement by Education Department

For Immediate Release

Salt Lake City, Utah, September 7, 2017– This morning, Education Secretary Betsy DeVos announced changes to the Title IX rule process while criticizing the so-called Dear Colleague letter. While she did not announce an end to the guidance established by the Dear Colleague letter, the message was clear.

Today’s announcement by Education Secretary Devos shows a willful disregard for the needs, concerns, and experiences of survivors of sexual violence. The announcement follows a series of statements, actions, and policy changes that tip the scales of justice away from survivors of sexual violence. We condemn, any effort to undermine the robust process of accountability established by the Dear Colleague letter.” – Turner C. Bitton, Executive Director

The Utah Coalition Against Sexual Assault committed to working with the state legislature, local partners, and all stakeholders in the state to ensure that institutions continue to adhere to the spirit and letter of the Dear Colleague letter.

Our Coalition has a long history of working with leaders in our great state to ensure that survivors of sexual violence get the justice that they deserve. We will work with our valued colleagues at institutions throughout the state to ensure that they have the resources, support, and encouragement to continue to adhere to the spirit and letter of the Dear Colleague letter.’ - Turner C. Bitton, Executive Director

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If you would like more information about this topic, please contact Turner Bitton at (801) 746-0404 Ext. 1 or email at turner@ucasa.org.

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