In 1975, individuals from the Rape Recovery Center, law enforcement agencies, Salt Lake emergency medical staff, and the Salt Lake County District Attorney’s office established a protocol for the medical assessment of victims of sexual assault, as well as forensic evidence collection process. This protocol is called the “Code R” procedure. Rape Recovery Center’s 24-hour Hospital Response Team was developed to assist victims during this procedure 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

When a victim of sexual assault reports the incident to law enforcement, he or she may be invited to have a Code R examination performed. Alternatively, if a victim of sexual assault decides not to cooperate with law enforcement, he or she may still choose to undergo a Code R examination, and is free to go to the emergency room of a local hospital and request one. In either case, a specialized forensic nurse from the Salt Lake Sexual Assault Nurse Examiners will be dispatched to perform the exam and offer medication that prevent both pregnancy and certain sexually transmitted infections.

When a victim of sexual assault presents to the emergency room, the hospital personnel will call Rape Recovery Center’s answering service and send a message to the Hospital Response Team staff members on call. The Hospital Response Team staff will respond to the hospital within 30 minutes and will remain with the victim for the duration of his or her time in the hospital.

The first-response advocates remain with the victim before, during, and after the medical interview and examination to explain procedures, answer questions, and advocate for the victim. The Hospital Response Team staff can also act as a liaison between medical staff, law enforcement, and/or any of the victim’s family or friends who may be present at the hospital. Additionally, the Hospital Response Team staff may be able to assist with logistical or other advocacy concerns pertaining to the victim’s return to a safe place following the Code R.

The Rape Recovery Center also offers follow-up services to victims via telephone. The volunteer and advocacy coordinator will call victims seen at the hospital within two weeks to offer appropriate Rape Recovery Center services and referrals. Rape Recovery Center’s services to victims of sexual assault include individual counseling, support group participation, 24-hour assistance via crisis line, and ongoing case management services.

In all cases involving victims 13 years of age or younger, services are offered through Primary Children’s Medical Center and their Center for Safe and Healthy Families.