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Combatting Sexual Assault: Addressing Gaps in Medical School Curricula

Endoresed in:

September, 2022

Paper Type:

Position Paper

Authors:

  • Lotus Alphonsus (Western University)
  • Skylar Healey (Western University)
  • Stefani Mihilli (Western University)
  • Valerie Steckle (Western University)

Background:

Given the prevalence of SA, its detrimental short term and long-term effects and the difficulty survivors face sharing their experiences, there is a pressing need to train future practitioners to become familiar with SADV interviewing, management, and resources. Regardless of their field of training, medical students will likely encounter survivors of SADV. To proactively target internal barriers and biases, especially against marginalized communities, training around incorporating trauma informed and culturally safe care is vital. Providing care to survivors of SADV can be immensely difficult. To encourage personal wellness, medical schools should equip students with tools to handle the emotional burden and vicarious trauma that are associated with providing SADV care.

Recommendations:

  • That medical schools in Ontario should evaluate their course material to ensure the
    current MCC objectives related to sexual violence (114-3) are adequately addressed within
    current curricula.
  • That the MCC objectives on sexual violence be updated to address current curriculum
    gaps by December 31, 2023.
  • That medical school curricula should address vulnerable communities and added barriers
    associated with sexual assault disclosure to healthcare professionals in order to optimize
    and inform patient care.
  • That medical schools should incorporate specific training on vicarious trauma and
    personal coping strategies as part of building a comprehensive sex education curriculum.
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