Original Publication
Open Access

The SA Pocket Tool

Published: April 27, 2012 | 10.15766/mep_2374-8265.9165

Included in this publication:

  • SA Pocket Tool - Adolescent.jpg
  • SA Pocket Tool - Instructor's Guide.docx
  • SA Pocket Tool - Learner Evaluation.docx
  • SA Pocket Tool - Prepubertal Child.jpg
  • SA Pocket Tool - Session 1 Use of the tool.pdf
  • SA Pocket Tool - Session 2 Case examples.pdf

To view all publication components, extract (i.e., unzip) them from the downloaded .zip file.

Editor's Note: This publication predates our implementation of the Educational Summary Report in 2016 and thus displays a different format than newer publications.


Introduction: The medical evaluation of sexually assaulted children, ranging in age from infants to teens, is a complex and emotionally charged procedure. Even medical professionals who have special expertise in these evaluations find these cases challenging. It is important to provide the best medical care for these children in the least stressful way possible, while at the same time meeting the evidentiary needs of investigators. Current guidelines for completing sexual assault evaluations in children are too complex and cumbersome to be very useful at the bedside. Health care providers are usually under duress because of time constraints and the tragic circumstances of these cases when completing these evaluations. Too often the examiner omits key elements of documentation, evidence collection, and treatments of these children. To address this we created the Sexual Abuse (SA) Pocket Tool; a user-friendly checklist that is both educational and useful as a checklist while evaluating a child who may have been assaulted. Methods: This resource contains the SA Pocket Tool and background materials to educators about the tool’s use. This education occurs over two 1-hour sessions. During the first session users are provided with relevant background information via a PowerPoint presentation and review the tool in detail. The second session consists of a brief review of content from the first session, and use of the tool in two case studies. Results: The SA tool has been launched locally and presented nationally. There have been multiple requests to make the tool more widely available as a child/teen sexual assault resource. Although no formal assessment was conducted, users of the SA Pocket Tool have provided anecdotal reports of markedly improved comfort with conducting sexual assault evaluations. Discussion: The SA Pocket Tool is meant to be either used as a checklist or to support educational programs on sexual assault evaluations. It is not intended to be used as a stand-alone “how-to” manual. The tool may be updated or modified as science evolves and as local practices vary.


Educational Objectives

By the end of this session, learners will be able to:

  1. Instruct new learners on how to use the Sexual Assault (SA) Pocket Tool.
  2. Describe the key elements of the sexual assault evaluation and treatment of the prepubertal child and of the adolescent child.
  3. Effectively employ the SA Pocket Tool to provide complete medical documentation in acute sexual assault/abuse in children.

Author Information

  • Lynn Sheets, MD: Medical College of Wisconsin
  • Deborah Bretl: Children's Hospital of Wisconsin

None to report.

None to report. 

Prior Presentations
Sexual Assault "SA" Pocket Tool. Poster presentation at: 32nd Annual Conference on Pediatric Health Care, Charting the Course for Advocacy and Innovation, National Association of Pediatric Nurse Practitioners; March 23, 2011; Baltimore, Maryland.


Sheets L, Bretl D. The SA pocket tool. MedEdPORTAL. 2012;8:9165. https://doi.org/10.15766/mep_2374-8265.9165