(a) To the extent the agency is responsible for investigating allegations of sexual abuse, the agency shall follow a uniform evidence protocol that maximizes the potential for obtaining usable physical evidence for administrative proceedings and criminal prosecutions.
(b) The protocol shall be developmentally appropriate for youth where applicable, and, as appropriate, shall be adapted from or otherwise based on the most recent edition of the U.S. Department of Justice’s Office on Violence Against Women publication, “A National Protocol for Sexual Assault Medical Forensic Examinations, Adults/Adolescents,” or similarly comprehensive and authoritative protocols developed after 2011.
(c) The agency shall offer all victims of sexual abuse access to forensic medical examinations, whether on-site or at an outside facility, without financial cost, where evidentiarily or medically appropriate. Such examinations shall be performed by Sexual Assault Forensic Examiners (SAFEs) or Sexual Assault Nurse Examiners (SANEs) where possible. If SAFEs or SANEs cannot be made available, the examination can be performed by other qualified medical practitioners. The agency shall document its efforts to provide SAFEs or SANEs.
(d) The agency shall attempt to make available to the victim a victim advocate from a rape crisis center. If a rape crisis center is not available to provide victim advocate services, the agency shall make available to provide these services a qualified staff member from a community-based organization, or a qualified agency staff member. Agencies shall document efforts to secure services from rape crisis centers. For the purpose of this standard, a rape crisis center refers to an entity that provides intervention and related assistance, such as the services specified in 42 U.S.C. 14043g(b)(2)(C), to victims of sexual assault of all ages. The agency may utilize a rape crisis center that is part of a governmental unit as long as the center is not part of the criminal justice system (such as a law enforcement agency) and offers a comparable level of confidentiality as a nongovernmental entity that provides similar victim services.
(e) As requested by the victim, the victim advocate, qualified agency staff member, or qualified community-based organization staff member shall accompany and support the victim through the forensic medical examination process and investigatory interviews and shall provide emotional support, crisis intervention, information, and referrals.
(f) To the extent the agency itself is not responsible for investigating allegations of sexual abuse, the agency shall request that the investigating agency follow the requirements of paragraphs (a) through (e) of this section.
(g) The requirements of paragraphs (a) through (f) of this section shall also apply to: (1) Any State entity outside of the agency that is responsible for investigating allegations of sexual abuse in prisons or jails; and (2) Any Department of Justice component that is responsible for investigating allegations of sexual abuse in prisons or jails.
(h) For the purposes of this section, a qualified agency staff member or a qualified community-based staff member shall be an individual who has been screened for appropriateness to serve in this role and has received education concerning sexual assault and forensic examination issues in general.