Response to Sexual Assault in Bogotá, Colombia: A Qualitative Evaluation of Health Providers’ Readiness and Role in Policy Implementation

Sophie Morse , University of Texas at Austin
Michele Decker, Johns Hopkins University

Colombia has an extensive policy framework to address violence against women, a phenomenon that affects women’s safety, well-being, and sexual and reproductive health. This qualitative study addresses the health system and policy response to sexual violence in Bogotá. Interviews were conducted with doctors, nurses, and social workers (n=46) in emergency departments at public hospitals in Bogotá in 2015, and were analyzed for thematic content. Key findings were compared with district and national policies and 2013 WHO clinical and policy guidelines. Most providers exhibited sensitivity towards victims, understood the protocol for emergency contraception and the legal right to abortion, but also reported inadequate capacity building, undermining policy implementation. Our participants’ eagerness to provide quality care suggests that efforts to strengthen the health system response may be effective in this context.

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 Presented in Session 5. Health & Mortality 1