Wednesday, June 1, 2016

New national protocol for pediatric sexual abuse examinations

The U.S. Department of Justice has released a national protocol for Sexual Abuse Medical Forensic Examinations-Pediatric (Pediatric SAFE Protocol).

The protocol is designed for health care providers who conduct sexual abuse medical forensic examinations of prepubescent children and other professionals involved in an initial response to child sexual abuse. It has three main goals: "address the health care needs of prepubescent children who disclose sexual abuse or for whom sexual abuse is suspected; promote their healing; and gather forensic evidence for potential use within the criminal justice and/or child protection systems."

The protocol notes that "in the case of prepubescent children who display problem sexualized behaviors, examinations should be done by health care providers as these children may also be victims of sexual abuse."

More information about SAFE examinations is available here and here.