alexa Barriers to Engagement in Acute and Post-Acute Sexual Assault Response Services: A Practice-Based Scoping Review
ISSN: 1522-4821

International Journal of Emergency Mental Health and Human Resilience
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Review Article

Barriers to Engagement in Acute and Post-Acute Sexual Assault Response Services: A Practice-Based Scoping Review

Kristy Fitzgerald1, Sally Wooler2, Dara Petrovic3, Jen Crickmore3, Kristy Fortnum3, Letitcha Hegarty4, Chantal Fichera5, Pim Kuipers6,7*

1Department of Social Work and Psychology, Royal Brisbane and Women’s Hospital, Queensland, Australia

2Acquired Brian Injury Transitional Rehabilitation Service, Metro South Health, Queensland, Australia

3Department of Social Work, Logan Hospital, Metro South Health, Queensland, Australia

4Maternity and General Medical, Beaudesert Hospital, Metro South Health, Queensland, Australia

5Cancer Support Team, Wide Bay Health, Queensland, Australia

6Centre for Functioning and Health Research, Metro South Health, Queensland, Australia

7Menzies Health Institute Queensland, Griffith University, Queensland, Australia

*Corresponding Author:
Pim Kuipers
Menzies Health Institute Queensland
Griffith University, Queensland, Australia
E-mail: [email protected]


Background: Engaging victims of sexual assault in acute and post-acute sexual assault services is vital for their immediate and longer term wellbeing, but is also a major challenge for practitioners and services. Methods: A practice-based scoping review was conducted to identify barriers to engagement. After search limiters were applied, 339 articles were screened at various levels, resulting in 27 articles, which were reviewed by two reviewers and appraised for quality and relevance. Results: Eighteen key barriers were identified within the four categories of: service and system barriers, health professional barriers, person/survivor barriers, and person context barriers. Conclusion: The identified barriers provide a useful guide for practitioners as key issues to address or consider when seeking to promote greater victim/patient engagement in acute and post-acute sexual assault services. The need for a “victim centred response” is highlighted..


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