Verna Harrah Sexual Assault Examination Clinic
Santa Monica-UCLA Medical Center
The Verna Harrah Clinic (“Clinic”) is an innovative facility created by The Rape Foundation to enhance the way emergency care is provided for sexual assault victims. The Clinic is a model for the nation. It is dedicated exclusively to 24-hour emergency medical treatment, forensic services, and counseling for victims – children and adults – in the immediate aftermath of sexual assault. The Clinic was designed to remedy problems in the traditional emergency response to victims of sexual violence and abuse.
Problems in the Traditional Emergency Care System
Throughout the United States, most rape victims and sexually abused children who seek help immediately following a sexual assault are taken to crowded, chaotic hospital ERs for care. Overburdened ERs must give priority to patients with life-threatening illnesses and injuries. This usually means that traumatized sexual assault victims wait for hours to receive treatment. Delays in receiving care are highly stressful for victims and may also result in the deterioration or loss of critical evidence.
The Verna Harrah Clinic was designed to remedy these problems and to enhance the care and treatment that rape victims and sexually abused children receive in the immediate aftermath of a sexual assault.
The Rape Treatment Center/Verna Harrah Clinic Solution
In a safe, private, therapeutic setting, the Clinic provides highly specialized care and treatment for sexual assault victims — children and adults – 24 hours a day. Clinic services include emergency medical treatment, forensic evidentiary examinations, counseling, assistance with police reporting, information about sexual assault victim rights and options, and other support services. It is located in the hospital with access to all ancillary services when needed, but it is separate from the hospital’s ER. The Clinic is staffed by highly trained professionals with medical/forensic expertise and experience treating the psychological trauma sexual assault victims sustain. The Clinic uses state-of-the-art forensic equipment and technologies that support the detection and preservation of physical evidence, including DNA. All Clinic services are provided free of charge to sexual assault victims.
The Clinic is part of the Rape Treatment Center’s comprehensive victim care services at Santa Monica-UCLA Medical Center.