Launch of a ground-breaking clinical sexual violence network will provide much needed support for this sector

  • 14/08/2017

SAATS-Link - Medical Sexual Assault Clinicians Aotearoa (MEDSAC, formerly DSAC) is excited to announce the launch of this new, innovative on-line network for people working in sexual assault clinics around New Zealand.

In 2015, the 18 sexual assault services (SAATS) around the country provided therapeutic, forensic and medical care for over 1700 patients – a rise of 23% in the number of cases over a mere 3 years. Clinicians working in these services are often on-call 24 hours a day, and provide this service on top of their regular daily clinical work. Some work in isolated areas, with little opportunity to share their knowledge or connect with other colleagues. For patients, coming forward and getting medical care can be difficult, with a huge variation in not only access to services, but also what care and support may be offered, around the country.

MEDSAC, with the backing of our funders (ACC, New Zealand Police and the Ministry of Health) has launched this network to support not only those people working in sexual assault clinics, but also to provide better information to the public and GPs. The network has a public page so anyone seeking medical care or support after sexual assault can find their local providers, and information about other services. For those working in the sector, it provides quality assured “best practice” guidelines, expert support and advice, and a forum where clinicians can share experiences and knowledge.

Dr Cathy Stephenson (MEDSAC’s spokesperson and one of the networks new clinical advisors) sees SAATS-Link playing a key role in the future: “Improving equitable service access to patients who have been sexually assaulted is vital. By educating, supporting and enabling those working in the sector, this network will help provide a sustainable work force that can cope with the predicted growth in patient numbers. MEDSAC is extremely proud of this national initiative – as far as we know, no other country has the capability to connect clinicians working in this specialised sector in this way”.

To view the public page of SAATS-Link visit www.saats-link.nz