Date of Conferral



Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP)




Barbara Niedz


The complex challenges facing the sexual assault nurse examiners program in a midwest state are underreporting, late reporting, and poor coordination of care for pediatric victims of child maltreatment with sexual abuse. The main objective of this quality improvement project was the identification of necessary practice-related approaches to care to decrease barriers associated with reporting suspicions of abuse or neglect. An evidence-based, multidisciplinary assessment clinical toolkit that followed clinical components of trauma-sensitive, child-centered screenings triggering a coordinated response to conduct a forensic medical exam within 96 hours of the alleged incident was evaluated. During 3 rounds of surveys following the Delphi technique, 10 members of an expert panel agreed upon critical success indicators were used for the review and final decision for adoption of the toolkit. The final consensus obtained, with an intraclass correlation of 0.924 with a 95% confidence interval, supported implementation of this trauma-informed toolkit which would ensure that medical care and throughput through the system of care addressed the physical and mental needs of the patient and caregivers as well as improvement in the forensic investigative data collection. A child-centered, trauma-sensitive approach to screening and evaluation by healthcare professionals will help decrease the delay to evaluation and to curtail long-term adverse impacts on survivors. This family-based primary prevention effort is a framework for healthcare practitioners to use and includes strategies (i.e., health history, mental health evaluation, family dynamics evaluation) that are child and family centered contributing significantly to positive social change.