The Importance of the Sexual Assault Survivors Emergency Treatment Act

The Sexual Assault Survivors Emergency Treatment Act, or SASETA is an Illinois law that has been in effect since 1987.

I’m not sure if other states have a similar law (if you know, please let me know!), but I feel lucky to be in a state with a law that specifically provides survivors with hospital emergency care.

Here are a few of the many laws that apply Under SASETA, 410 ILCS 70/5:

  • The survivor is NOT billed for any services provided in the ER, medications, follow-up tests, or ambulance
  • Sexual Assault is prioritized as Code R in the ER, which tells hospital staff to respond to survivors second only to life & death patients
  • The survivor must get a private area if they have to wait, as well as a private exam room
  • Minors don’t need consent for medical treatment and evidence collection in the ER
  • Tests for sexually transmitted diseases, pregnancy, or other potential infections are to be completed for the survivor
  • STD and pregnancy prophylaxis are to be made available to the survivor in the ER – NOT just given prescriptions
  • The survivor can receive counseling that provides emotional support and confidentiality
  • If the patient needs a follow-up exam within 2-4 weeks, the tests must be administered through the ER & covered under SASETA

When I first heard about this law in the rape crisis intervention training, I wanted to shout it from the rooftops! For a survivor, the anxiety of money can be just another factor in decided on whether to go to the hospital.

If you live in Illinois, or know someone who does, please share this information. You never know who could use it.

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