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Med Sci Law. 2005 Apr;45(2):121-8.

A postgraduate sexual assault forensic medicine program: sexual assault medicine from scratch.

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  • 1Medical Director Forensic and Medical Sexual Assault Care (FAMSAC), Canberra Sexual Health Centre, Australia. vanita.parekh@act.gov.au

Abstract

A government-funded service to provide forensic and medical care to survivors of sexual assault was established in the Australian Capital Territory (ACT) in 2001. Doctors employed by the service lacked the specific skills required to care comprehensively for survivors. Our aim was to develop, implement and evaluate a sexual assault medical education program. It consisted of an 'in-house' education program, and external university course and incorporated team-building, networking activities and protocol development. Core elements were: forensic evidence collection, assessment and management of injuries, prevention of sexually transmissible infections and pregnancy, counselling and emotional support. Participant satisfaction and knowledge acquisition were evaluated using a semi-structured interview and a questionnaire. Seven doctors participated in a 16-session program conducted by the director and nurse coordinator with help from local forensic, legal and medical experts. All doctors successfully completed the Certificate in Forensic Medicine, and reported satisfaction with the program and their increased knowledge, particularly associated with collection of forensic evidence and court procedures. A compete set of protocols was developed and cohesive networks established. We have designed an effective education program for doctors working in the field of sexual assault and offer it as a template to other health professionals working in this area.

PMID:
15895637
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]

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