Forensic Examinations

Sexual Assault Forensic Medicine

Our examiners serve victims of sexual assault and domestic violence 24/7 365 days a year in Napa, Solano and Marin Counties.

Our teams of dedicated forensic examiners often help out other closer counties such as Contra Costa and Sonoma Counties.

Sexual assault forensic medicine began in California in 1985, with the enactment of Penal Code section 13823.5-11, which requires trained healthcare providers to use the standard state form and protocol issued by the California Office of Emergency Services. This statute also requires counties with a population of 100,000 or more to have trained personnel on-call or on duty. For counties with a population of one million or more, one trained exam team per million population is required. Sexual assault examiners may be registered nurses, nurse practitioners, physician assistants, or physicians.

In 1995, the California Clinical Forensic Medical Training Center (CCFMTC) was established in state law to increase access by victims to trained healthcare providers and to implement eight statutory objectives. Forensic examiners provide specialized care for patients who are experiencing acute and long-term health consequences associated with victimization or violence, and/or have unmet evidentiary needs relative to having been victimized or accused of victimization. In addition, forensic nurses provide consultation and testimony for civil and criminal proceedings relative to nursing practice, care given, and opinions rendered regarding findings. Forensic nursing care is not separate and distinct from other forms of medical care, but rather integrated into the overall care needs of individual patients.

Forensic nurses are registered nurses who received specialized education and training to provide care to patients who experienced victimization or violence. They are the first point of contact between the victim of crime and the health care system. And from the bodies of victims of physical injury and violence, living or dead, they collect the physical evidence required for criminal investigations. They consult, cooperate, and communicate with law enforcement agencies, and can be called on to testify in court as expert witnesses.

While Sexual Assault Nurse Examiners (SANEs) are probably the best-known within the field, forensic nurses provide services in various fields where health care and the law intersect. This includes domestic violence, child and elderly abuse, human trafficking, death investigations, and human-made and natural disasters.

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