The role of the physiotherapist in treating survivors of sexual assault

Review written by Dr Sarah Haag info

Key Points

  1. Physiotherapists will likely encounter patients who are sexual assault survivors.
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BACKGROUND & OBJECTIVE

One in six women have experienced sexual assault in Australia, and in America the number is one in five (1). There have been many recent events that have brought sexual harassment and sexual assault forward into the awareness of healthcare providers and the public at large.

This editorial aimed to raise awareness and demonstrates the need for specific skills and training to meet the complex needs of women who are survivors of sexual trauma. It suggested that the need for “healthcare professionals to know more and do more is compelling”. The authors acknowledged that any person can be the victim of sexual assault, however this editorial focused on the experience of women.

One in six women have experienced sexual assault in Australia.
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Screening for a history of sexual assault is a necessary step to ensuring appropriate care is delivered.

THE IMPACT OF SEXUAL TRAUMA

Considering the prevalence of sexual assault in the world, it is highly probable that physiotherapists will encounter women who have experienced sexual assault. Sexual assault has a significant impact on a women’s physical, social, emotional, and psychological health. It is

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