A new code giving “step by step” guidance to medical practitioners dealing with victims of sexual assault has been jointly published by Belgium’s Medical College and by the federal institute for gender equality.
The Sexual Violence Reporting Code (Code de signalement des violences sexuelles) is meant to provide detailed information to medical staff so that they can better assist patients who have been victims of sexual violence or assault.
It provides “step by step” explanations on how to “professionally respond” when dealing with patients who have been victims of such a situation.
Until now, medical professionals did not have a set of guidelines or steps to follow when treating sexual assault victims.
The publication of the code, announced Monday in a statement by Belgium’s Institute for the Equality of Women and Men, is meant to encourage care providers to reach out to sexual assault victims more, as they reportedly held back from doing so, fearing it could constitute a violation to their profession’s ethical codes.
According to Liesbet Stevens of the gender equality institute, “victims of sexual violence often want to be heard by doctors,” and the new code will allow care providers to find a “good balance” between the deontology of medical care and the “questions and problems that come up in practice.”
The code is set to be distributed in hospitals and medical establishments across the country, and its authors want it to be added to educational programs as well.