Director's Corner: New National Protocol for Sexual Abuse Medical Forensic Examinations of Prepubescent Children

This protocol strengthens our nation’s response to child sexual abuse and promotes the healing and well-being of these victims.

The National Institute of Justice (NIJ) is pleased to support the release of the National Protocol for Sexual Abuse Medical Forensic Examinations, Pediatric (pdf, 233 pages) (Pediatric SAFE Protocol) by the Department of Justice’s Office on Violence Against Women (OVW). The empirical research on the abuse of children is clear—crimes against children are different from similar crimes that victimize adolescents and adults. This difference served as the rationale for developing a protocol tailored for children.

I am proud that NIJ was part of the collaborative team that developed the Pediatric SAFE Protocol. Working with federal partners within the Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and the Department of Health and Human Services allowed us to harness the expertise of child abuse pediatricians, pediatric sexual assault nurse examiners, children’s hospitals, emergency departments, child advocacy centers, community and systems-based advocacy programs, law enforcement agencies and prosecutors. The result is a protocol that provides specific guidance on pediatric forensic medical examinations and coordinating a community response to child sexual abuse that includes victim advocates, law enforcement, prosecutors, child protective services and forensic scientists.

NIJ will continue to provide the empirical basis for the hard work of caring for the most vulnerable victims of sexual abuse so that no child who has been victimized – in the words of Attorney General Loretta E. Lynch – “should be forced to bear that burden alone.”

This protocol strengthens our nation’s response to child sexual abuse and promotes the healing and well-being of these victims. Assistant Attorney General for the Office of Justice Programs Karol V. Mason and OVW Principal Deputy Director Bea Hanson also authored a blog post on the importance of the Pediatric SAFE Protocol.

The International Association of Forensic Nurses and OVW are hosting a webinar on June 16, 2016, at 3:30 p.m. ET that will provide more details on the key recommendations of the protocol. Find registration information and technical assistance on the Kidsta.org websiteExit Notice
.

Download and read the Pediatric SAFE Protocol (pdf, 233 pages).

Date Created: May 6, 2016