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Sexual Assault Prevention and Response for Health and Residential Care Providers

Sexual assault happens in health care facilities more than people think. A Systematic Review of Sexual Assaults in Nursing Homes found a large gap in knowledge. It also showed a need for better staff training to detect, examine, and manage sexual assaults in health care facilities and community living settings.

What is sexual assault

Sexual assault or abuse can take many forms, according to the National Consumer Voice for Quality Long-Term Care Issue Brief (PDF). It includes:

  • Forced nudity.
  • Forced watching of masturbation and/or pornography.
  • Rape, oral, or anal sex.
  • The taking of sexually explicit photos or recordings of a resident and sharing them online or in person. Includes pictures or recordings of residents who aren’t fully clothed while bathing, dressing, or getting care.
  • Unwanted intimate touching of any kind, especially to the breasts or genital area.

Wisconsin Stat. § 940.225, Sexual Assault also defines sexual assault.

Sexual assault reporting requirements

Reporting requirements are meant to help providers, surveyors, and others respond to sexual assault claims. These details apply to people living in health care facilities or community living settings.

DQA Sexual Assault Response Protocol

Expand a section to learn more.

Adult-at-Risk, Including Elder Adult-at-Risk, Reporting Requirements for DQA-Regulated Entities, P-01214 (PDF)—Provides information to groups that the Division of Quality Assurance (DQA) regulates. Helps define who must report claims of caregiver misconduct and other incidents with adults-at-risk.

Reporting Requirements for Assisted Living Facilities, P-02007 (PDF)—Helps providers know when state statutes and codes require them to contact Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS) about certain events.

Nursing Home Reporting Requirements for Alleged Incidents of Abuse, Neglect, and Misappropriation, P-00981 (PDF)—Gives direction to nursing homes on how to report to DQA. Alleged incidents to report include:

  • Abuse.
  • Exploitation.
  • Injuries of unknown source.
  • Misappropriation of resident property.
  • Mistreatment.
  • Neglect of residents.

Sexual assault resources

The following resources are for providers, surveyors, and other interested groups. These resources can help prevent and respond to the sexual assault of people living in health care facilities or community living settings.

Expand a section to learn more.

Call 911 when there is a claim of sexual assault.

Adult Protective Services—Helps older adults and adults-at-risk who’ve been abused, neglected, or exploited. You can call:

Ombudsman Program—Provides advocacy services to people 60 years of age and older who take part in Wisconsin long-term care programs. A long-term care ombudsman protects and promotes the rights of long-term care consumers. They work with consumers and families to achieve their expected quality of care and quality of life.

DQA (a division of DHS)—Assures the safety, welfare, and health of people who use health and community care provider services in Wisconsin.

Wisconsin Department of Justice—Protects public safety and serves people who live in Wisconsin. The attorney general leads this department. Through the Office of Crime Victim Services, they help those who survive sexual assault. They also have resources and programs for crime victims, family and friends, and professionals who work with survivors.

Disability Rights Wisconsin—Serves as the protection and advocacy agency for Wisconsin. This puts it in a nation-wide network of similar agencies that serve people with a spectrum of disabilities. Disability Rights Wisconsin helps protect against abuse, neglect, or wrongdoing. It enforces the rights of people with disabilities.

Wisconsin Coalition Against Sexual Assault—Supports and complements the work of Wisconsin’s community-based sexual assault service provider programs and other groups working to end sexual violence. The coalition is made up of its staff, board, volunteers, and 55 sexual assault service provider agencies.

Sexual Assault Service Providers in Wisconsin (PDF)

Contact us

Questions about claims of sexual assault at a Wisconsin regulated health care facility? Contact

Last revised August 24, 2023