New National Protocol for Pediatric Sexual Abuse Forensic Exams

The Department of Justice's Office on Violence Against Women (OVW), with support from the National Institute of Justice (NIJ), released the National Protocol for Sexual Abuse Medical Forensic Examinations, Pediatric (Pediatric SAFE Protocol) in early May.


"The empirical research on the abuse of children is clear—crimes against children are different from similar crimes that victimize adolescents and adults," NIJ Director Nancy Rodriguez wrote in a recent "Director's Corner" post. "This difference served as the rationale for developing a protocol tailored for children."

The protocol was developed by a collaborative team consisting of NIJ, the Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and the Department of Health and Human Services. This collaborative effort "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," wrote Rodriguez. "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."

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 website.

You can download a the 233-page protocol here.

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The language barrier between English-speaking investigators and Spanish-speaking witnesses is a growing problem. (Updated 28 February 2011)