It’s no secret that sexual assault is rampant in the United States. However, most people do not realize that the majority of those committing sexual assaults against children, are children themselves. As a Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner in hospital that sees one of the highest volumes of sexual assault victims in the United States, it should be noted that the majority of perpetrators are 11-15 year old males. This is a fact that most people are unaware of. This presentation addresses the overwhelming amount of children who are being assaulted, factors influencing children who act out in sexually harmful ways, and how this early sexualization affects children as they become adults.
Heidi Olson is a Certified Pediatric Nurse, Certified Pediatric Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner (SANE) and the SANE Program Coordinator at Children’s Mercy Hospital in Kansas City, MO. She has a wide range of experience in pediatric and forensic nursing and has also taught as an adjunct clinical instructor for the University of Missouri at Kansas City and the University of St. Mary’s. Heidi received the Excellent Nursing Student Educator’s Award in 2017.
Heidi’s current role includes performing forensic exams on children who have been victims of sexual assault, training new SANE nurses, running the day-to-day logistics of the forensics program, following up with victims and their families after discharge, communicating with law enforcement, child protective services, prosecutors, the FBI and educating the healthcare staff on relevant topics regarding children and sexual exploitation. Heidi also serves an expert witness for the prosecution during trials for victims of sexual assault. In last year and a half, Heidi has performed and reviewed over 600 pediatric sexual assault cases.
Heidi has a huge heart for victims of sexual assault and sexual exploitation. Heidi has presented over 100 times in the last year about recognizing human trafficking, the harms of pornography, sexual assault and sexual exploitation in various settings from nursing schools to national conferences. Heidi started a human trafficking committee at Children’s Mercy Hospital to help bring together a multi-disciplinary group that will focus on better care for this vulnerable population. Heidi also collaborates with many local nonprofits to help build bridges and provide better resources for victims of human trafficking.