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A National Protocol for Sexual Assault Medical Forensic Examinations Adults/Adolescents

“A timely, high-quality medical forensic examination can potentially validate and address sexual assault patients’7 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” (p. 4). Sections contained in this publication are: Section A. Overarching Issues-coordinated team approach, victim-centered care, informed consent, confidentiality, reporting to law enforcement, and payment for the examination under Violence Against Women Act (VAWA); Section B. Operational Issues-sexual assault forensic examiners, facilities, equipment and supplies, sexual assault evidence collection kit, timing considerations for collecting evidence, and evidence integrity; and Section C. The Examination Process-initial contact, triage and intake, documentation by health care personnel, the medical forensic history, photography, exam and evidence collection procedures, alcohol and drug-facilitated sexual assault, sexually transmitted infection (STI) evaluation and care, pregnancy risk evaluation and care, discharge and follow-up, and examiner court appearances. Appendixes include: Developing Customized Protocols: Considerations for Jurisdictions”; “Creation of Sexual Assault Response and Resource Teams”; and “Impact of Crawford v. Washington, Davis v. Washington, and Giles v. California”.