A National Protocol for Sexual Assault Medical Forensic Examinations
Sexual violence continues to plague our Nation and destroy lives. All members of society are vulnerable to this crime, regardless of race, age, gender, ability, or social standing. When sexual assault does occur, victims deserve competent and compassionate care. This second edition of the National Protocol for Sexual Assault Medical Forensic Examinations provides detailed guidelines for criminal justice and health care practitioners in responding to the immediate needs of sexual assault victims. We know that effective collection of evidence is of paramount importance to successfully prosecuting sex offenders. Just as critical is performing sexual assault forensic exams in a sensitive, dignified, and victim-centered manner. For individuals who experience this horrendous crime, having a positive experience with the criminal justice and health care systems can contribute greatly to their overall healing.
As we have learned in the years since the implementation of the 1994 Violence Against Women Act, coordinated community efforts are the best way to stop violence against women, hold offenders accountable for their crimes, and promote victim healing and recovery. That is why this protocol was designed as a guide for practitioners who respond to victims of sexual assault, including health care professionals, law enforcement officers, prosecutors, interpreters, advocates, and others. Combining cutting edge response techniques with collaboration among service providers will greatly enhance our ability to treat and support victims as well as identify and prosecute the sex offenders. We hope that this protocol lays the foundation for these efforts.
Since this protocol was initially released in 2004, the “state of the art” for forensic medical examinations has improved. This revised edition of the protocol has the same emphasis and values as the original but has been updated to reflect current technology and practice. It has also been updated to include additional information reflecting changes from the Violence Against Women Act of 2005. It also includes minor technical changes identified in May, 2013.
Last modified: 6/29/2022