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Domestic Violence

Domestic violence encompasses various forms of abusive behavior deliberately inflicted by one intimate partner upon another, and it is characterized by a systematic pattern of power and control. This pattern includes acts of willful intimidation, physical assault, battery, sexual assault, and other forms of abuse. Domestic violence manifests as physical violence, sexual violence, psychological violence, and emotional abuse. Tragically, it can culminate in physical injury or even loss of life.

The frequency and intensity of domestic violence can significantly vary, but a consistent element in all cases is one partner’s pursuit of power and dominance over the other. This form of abuse is also referred to as “Intimate Partner Violence.” It often involves “Honeymoon” phases during which everything appears to be harmonious, accompanied by promises that violence will not recur. However, triggers can reignite the violence, typically resulting in an escalation in both frequency and severity.

Abuse includes any action that:

  • Humiliates
  • Frightens
  • Intimidates
  • Terrorizes
  • Manipulates
  • Hurts
  • Blames
  • Injures

Domestic violence is a deeply concerning issue that can affect anyone, irrespective of their race, gender, marital status, age, sexual orientation, religion, education level (including those with mental disabilities), or socioeconomic background. It is essential to recognize that no one is immune to the potential risks and impact of domestic violence, highlighting the importance of awareness, prevention, and support for all individuals who may find themselves in such situations.

This is a comprehensive medical examination conducted by a specialized certified Forensic Nurse, specifically trained to perform a Forensic Medical Examination for victims of domestic violence. The examination encompasses the following critical components:

  1. Patient Consent and Assent: The patient provides consent and maintains ongoing assent throughout the examination process.
  2. Medical History and Assault Account: The patient furnishes their medical history and recounts the details of the assault, enabling the nurse to assess and determine the necessary medical care.
  3. Head-to-Toe Nursing Assessment: This includes a thorough assessment of vital signs, along with measurements and documentation of any signs or symptoms of domestic violence that the patient may have experienced or is currently experiencing.
  4. Evidence Collection: With the patient’s consent, the nurse collects samples by swabbing various areas of the body, preserves clothing, and may collect urine and/or blood samples.
  5. Photo Documentation: If the patient consents, the nurse documents the patient’s condition, the condition of their clothing, and any injuries through photo-documentation.
  6. ER Referral Assessment: The nurse assesses whether the patient should be referred to the emergency room for evaluation by a physician.
  7. Resource and Counseling Referrals: The nurse educates the patient on where to access counseling, additional medical assistance if needed, and other resources related to safety and any other requirements. Encouragement is given for a follow-up appointment for photo-documentation of injuries and a general check-up with the patient.

Note: Photographic documentation is captured using the SDFI system and stored with AES 256 Bit Encryption along with Passphrase Protection. It’s essential to understand that these photographs are not immediately shared with ANYONE. All photographs are treated as evidence and can only be released to Law Enforcement or any other party with a valid subpoena issued by a judge. We prioritize and take your privacy extremely seriously, and every precaution is taken to ensure the security and confidentiality of this sensitive information.