At a time when the management of rape cases is high on the government’s agenda, the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RCOG) is holding a two-day meeting on forensic gynaecology that will focus on the clinical and legal responsibilities of those involved in rape examinations.
Unfortunately, treatment is still inconsistent around the country and inadequate initial care can translate into poor court cases. But it is hoped that this meeting can improve this situation by equipping medical experts with the knowledge they need for dealing with rape cases.
The meeting will raise awareness of the role that rape plays in women’s physical and mental health and will provoke a better understanding of how to manage victims of rape through a multi-disciplinary approach.
Sessions will include the law on rape, the role of the doctor, forensic samples, adolescent sex abuse and aftercare of the woman as well as workshops on court skills and statement writing. The second day of the course will emphasise the role of the medical expert in the court process.
Maureen Dalton, course organiser says, “Over the past two decades there has been a transformation in our understanding of the notion of rape. Research has helped to reveal the alarming frequency of sexual coercion in women’s lives and the various guises in which rape occurs. Current legal forms have changed the way rape is defined and treated in law.”
Rape is now estimated to be the most costly crime with a Home Office report estimating the health-related costs of rape at £73,487 per case.* It is hoped that by improving the care the victim receives a reduction in costs will follow.
*'The economic and social cost of crime against individuals and households', Home Office report 30/05