Sexual violence is a pervasive global problem with significant consequences for the physical and psychological health of victims, yet in many places around the world, available services do not meet the needs of survivors. Health workers who provide care to survivors of sexual assault often lack training in sexual violence and forensic evidence collection.
Conversely, people who report a sexual assault to the police may undergo a forensic medical examination without their other health needs being addressed. To help ensure that people who have been sexually abused have access to adequate care, WHO began an initiative in 2001 to strengthen the health sector response to sexual violence. This initiative includes the development of guidelines for providing care to sexual assault survivors and the development of a framework to guide health sector policies related to sexual violence.