New Protocol for Sexual Assault
Nearly 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.