Goal of the Protocol

A timely, well-done medical forensic examination can potentially validate and address sexual assault patients’[1] concerns, minimize the trauma they may experience, and promote their healing. At the same time, it can increase the likelihood that evidence collected will aid in criminal case investigation, resulting in perpetrators being held accountable and further sexual violence prevented.

The examination and the related responsibilities of health care personnel are the focus of this protocol. Recognizing that multidisciplinary coordination is vital to the success of the exam, the protocol also discusses the responses of other professionals, as they relate to the exam process.


[7] Sexual assault patients are also referred to as victims, depending on which responders are primarily being discussed. The term “patients” is generally used by health care professionals.

[8] The term "victim" is not used in a strictly criminal justice context.  The use of "victim" simply acknowledges that persons who discolose that they have been sexually assaulted should have access to certain services. 

International Association of Forensic Nurses

Copyright © 2011 International Association of Forensic Nurses. All rights reserved worldwide. No materials, including graphics, may be reused, modified, or reproduced without written permission. Any questions or comments regarding this site should be directed to info@forensicnurses.org

This project was supported by Grant No.2011-TA-AX-K021 awarded by the Office on Violence Against Women, U.S. Department of Justice. The opinions, findings, conclusions, and recommendations expressed in this Web Site are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Department of Justice, Office on Violence Against Women.