Justice Resource Update, NCJRS: Connecting You to Justice Information

New Protocol for Sexual Assault
Forensic Examiners

Cover of National Protocol for Sexual Assault Medical Forensic ExaminationsNearly 200,000 rapes and sexual assaults were estimated to have occurred in the United States in 2003.1 Unfortunately, victims did not report more than 60 percent of these crimes to the police, some out of shame and others out of fear of their assailant or of further traumatization by the system.To serve victims of these crimes better, the justice system must encourage victims to seek medical treatment and to report these crimes to police so that assailants can be apprehended and prosecuted.

Successful prosecution of sexual assault cases often relies on the careful collection of physical evidence and documentation of medical trauma. These tasks usually fall to physicians and nurses in hospital emergency rooms. A properly conducted forensic examination can validate and address a sexual assault victim?s concerns, minimize trauma, and possibly promote healing. At the same time, it increases the likelihood that the evidence collected will be useful in the investigation and prosecution of the sexual assault. more icon

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Summer 2005

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