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Kennedy KM, McHugh A and M Eogan
Irish Criminal Law Journal
The Forensic Medical Examination of Adults who Report Sexual Violence In Ireland: A Practical Overview for the Legal Practitioner
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Major advancement in the forensic medical services available to persons reporting sexual violence has taken place within the past 510 years in the Republic of Ireland. This country now has a well-established national network of Sexual Assault Treatment Units (SATUs) that aim to address the forensic and healthcare needs of patients who make a disclosure of sexual violence by providing a specialist multi-agency response. This article will provide the legal practitioner with a guide to current practice in respect of forensic medical assessment of persons reporting sexual violence in Ireland. The reader will be provided with an overview of what typically takes place when a patient attends an Irish SATU for a forensic medical assessment. The significance of the diagnosis of injury in such persons will be discussed with detailed reference to the body of international research literature on the subject. It is anticipated that this article may assist legal practitioners in their understanding of the health and forensic needs of persons reporting sexual violence, best international practice in their care and areas of controversy with regard to the interpretation of clinical examination findings in these cases. Although the lead author provides forensic medical services for females and males of all ages, this article will focus upon adult female patients who are reporting sexual violence.
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