All Publications

  • Variation in rates of sexual assault crisis counsellor usage during forensic examination in California: an observational study. BMJ open Serenska, A., Sarnquist, C. C., Darmstadt, G. L. 2023; 13 (10): e072635


    A critical asset to post-assault care of survivors is support from sexual assault crisis counsellors (SACCs). We sought to elucidate variation in implementation between California counties in SACC accompaniment during Sexual Assault Forensic Examination (SAFE).SACC attendance data from 2019 was obtained from the California Governor's Office of Emergency Services (CalOES). To assess SACC attendance rates during SAFEs, we requested SAFE quantity data from sheriffs and public health departments, the State Forensic Bureau, and the California Department of Justice (DOJ), but all requests were unanswered or denied. We also sought SAFE data from District Attorneys (DAs) in each county, and received responses from Marin and Contra Costa Counties. To estimate numbers of SAFEs per county, we gathered crime statistics from the Federal Bureau of Investigation's (FBI's) Uniform Crime Reporting Program and OpenJustice, a transparency initiative by the California DOJ. For each data source, we compared SACC attendance to SAFE quantities and incidences of sexual assault statewide.At the state level, data on SACC attendance per CalOES and DOJ archival data on sexual assault were used to approximate relative rates of SACC accompaniment at SAFEs; 83% (30 of 36) of counties had values <50%. The joint sexual assault crisis centre for Contra Costa and Marin Counties reported that 140 SACCs were dispatched in 2019, while DAs in Contra Costa and Marin reported completion of 87 SAFEs in 2019, for a calculated SACC accompaniment rate of 161%. Proxy data sourced from FBI and DOJ crime statistics displayed significant inconsistencies, and DOJ data was internally inconsistent.SACC accompaniment at SAFEs appears to be low in most California counties, however, limited data accessibility and data discrepancies and inaccuracies (e.g., rates over 100%) prevented reliable determination of SACC accompaniment rates during SAFEs. Substantial improvements in data accuracy and transparency are needed to ensure survivors' adequate access to resources.

    View details for DOI 10.1136/bmjopen-2023-072635

    View details for PubMedID 37865414

  • Association between maternity waiting home stay and obstetric outcomes in Yetebon, Ethiopia: a mixed-methods observational cohort study. BMC pregnancy and childbirth Erickson, A. K., Abdalla, S., Serenska, A., Demeke, B., Darmstadt, G. L. 2021; 21 (1): 482


    BACKGROUND: A strategy for reducing adverse pregnancy outcomes is the expanded implementation of maternity waiting homes (MWHs). We assessed factors influencing MWH use, as well as the association between MWH stay and obstetric outcomes in a hospital in rural Ethiopia.METHODS: Data from medical records of the Glenn C. Olson Memorial Primary Hospital obstetric ward were cross matched with records from the affiliated MWH between 1 and 2011 to 31 March 2014. Poisson regression with robust variance was conducted to estimate the relative risk (RR) of childbirth complications associated with MWH use vs. non-use. Five key informant interviews of a convenience sample of three MWH staff and two users were conducted and a thematic analysis performed of social, cultural, and economic factors underlying MWH use.RESULTS: During the study period, 489 women gave birth at the hospital, 93 of whom were MWH users. Common reasons for using the MWH were post-term status, previous caesarean section/myomectomy, malposition/malpresentation, and low-lying placenta, placenta previa, or antepartum hemorrhage, and hypertension or preeclampsia. MWH users were more likely than non-users to have had a previous caesarean Sec.(15.1% vs. 5.3%, p<0.001) and to be post-term (21.5% vs. 3.8%, p<0.001). MWH users were also more likely to undergo a caesarean Sec.(51.0% vs. 35.4%, p<0.05) and less likely (p<0.05) to have a spontaneous vaginal delivery (49.0% vs. 63.6%), obstructed labor (6.5% vs. 14.4%) or stillbirth (1.1% vs. 8.6%). MWH use (N=93) was associated with a 77% (adjusted RR=0.23, 95% Confidence Interval (CI) 0.12-0.46, p<0.001) lower risk of childbirth complications, a 94% (adjusted RR=0.06, 95% CI 0.01-0.43, p=0.005) lower risk of fetal and newborn complications, and a 73% (adjusted RR=0.27, 95% CI 0.13-0.56, p<0.001) lower risk of maternal complications compared to MWH non-users (N=396). Birth weight [median 3.5kg (interquartile range 3.0-3.8) vs. 3.2kg (2.8-3.5), p<0.001] and 5-min Apgar scores (adjusted difference=0.25, 95% CI 0.06-0.44, p<0.001) were also higher in offspring of MWH users. Opportunity costs due to missed work and need to arrange for care of children at home, long travel times, and lack of entertainment were suggested as key barriers to MWH utilization.CONCLUSIONS: This observational, non-randomized study suggests that MWH usage was associated with significantly improved childbirth outcomes. Increasing facility quality, expanding services, and providing educational opportunities should be considered to increase MWH use.

    View details for DOI 10.1186/s12884-021-03913-3

    View details for PubMedID 34217232