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Assessment of nurses’ competence to care for sexually assaulted trans persons: a survey of Ontario’s Sexual Assault/Domestic Violence Treatment Centres
  1. Janice Du Mont1,2,
  2. Sarah Daisy Kosa1,3,
  3. Shirley Solomon3,
  4. Sheila Macdonald3
  1. 1 Women’s College Research Institute, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
  2. 2 Dalla Lana School of Public Health, University of Toronto, Toronto, Canada
  3. 3 Ontario Network of Sexual Assault/Domestic Violence Treatment Centres, Toronto, Canada
  1. Correspondence to Dr Janice Du Mont; janice.dumont{at}


Objective Our primary objective was to examine the perceived level of competence and need for additional training among nurses engaged in the care of sexually assaulted trans persons. Among these nurses, a secondary objective was to examine the impact of prior trans-specific training on their perceived level of competence.

Setting An online survey was distributed to nurses working within 35 hospital-based violence treatment centres in Ontario, Canada.

Respondents 95 nurses completed the survey.

Primary and secondary outcome measures The perceived level of competence and need for additional training overall and on 31 specific items associated with initial assessment, medical care, forensic examination and discharge and referral, as well as sociodemographic, work experience and prior training information, was collected and summarised using descriptive and inferential statistics.

Results Almost three-quarters (73.1%) of nurses indicated that they had little or no expertise in caring for trans clients who have been sexually assaulted and 95.7% strongly agreed/agreed that they would benefit from (additional) training. The mean level of competence was 4.00 or greater (strongly agreed/agreed with the statement) for just 9 out of the 31 competencies related to caring for trans clients. Having undergone prior trans-specific training (61.3%) was associated with greater perceived competence in initial assessment (p=0.004) and medical care (p<0.001).

Conclusion It is of key importance that nurses demonstrate knowledge of and respond competently to the complex and diverse needs of trans survivors of sexual assault. The nurses surveyed overwhelmingly identified a need for additional training to care for sexually assaulted trans clients. It appears that additional training would be beneficial, as prior trans-specific training was associated with higher perceived competence in delivering certain aspects of care.

  • competencies
  • nurse
  • sexual assault
  • sexual assault centres
  • training
  • transgender

This is an open access article distributed in accordance with the Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial (CC BY-NC 4.0) license, which permits others to distribute, remix, adapt, build upon this work non-commercially, and license their derivative works on different terms, provided the original work is properly cited, appropriate credit is given, any changes made indicated, and the use is non-commercial. See:

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  • Contributors JDM conceived of and designed the study, interpreted the findings and wrote the manuscript. SDK collected the data, interpreted the findings and wrote the manuscript. SS analysed and synthesised the data and reviewed and revised the manuscript. SM conceived of and designed the study and reviewed and revised the manuscript. All authors read and approved the final manuscript.

  • Funding Janice Du Mont is supported in part by the Atkinson Foundation. This work was funded by the Women’s Xchange.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Ethics approval Research ethics board approval was obtained for the current study.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

  • Data sharing statement Availability of data and materials: The data supporting these findings will not be made available publicly as at the time the study was conducted, we did not obtain informed consent from participants for publication of disaggregated data.

  • Patient consent for publication Not required.

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