DOJ Issues Guidelines for Medical Examinations of Sexual Assault Victims
New national guidelines on forensic medical examination in sexual assault cases were released by the Department of Justice this Wednesday. In addition to focusing on the victim's emotional and physical wellbeing during medical examinations, the guidelines also clearly state a recommendation that sexual assault victims are offered emergency contraception. In the case that the medical staff has moral objections, the patient must be informed where they can immediately obtain emergency contraception.
The last guidelines were issued in 2004 and were mostly focused on criminal prosecution. The new guidelines [PDF] prioritize the victim's emotional and physical needs over criminal prosecution. Bea Hanson, the director of the Justice Department's Office on Violence Against Women, cites this shift in priority as a means to help the victim and law enforcement better collaborate. "Research shows that once victims get support, they're more likely to cooperate with the criminal justice system," Hanson said.
A former investigator of sex crimes for the Phoenix Police Department, Sergeant Jim Markey, described the new guidelines as "long overdue." He explained, "What this does is this allows workers in the trenches, those victim advocates, those detectives and nurses, to go to the decision makers and leaders in their communities and say: 'You know what? Here are the standards. We need the resources to provide the minimum standards that are in this protocol.'"
Media Resources: Huffington Post 4/26/13; The New York Times 4/24/13; National Criminal Justice Reference Service
8/3/2015 The Senate is Voting on Planned Parenthood Funding Today - A Senate bill to defund Planned Parenthood is expected to come to a vote today.
Sponsored by Republican Senator Joni Ernst (IA), Senate Bill 1881 would prohibit all Federal funding of Planned Parenthood or "any of its affiliates, subsidiaries, successors, or clinics." The Senate will need 60 votes to advance the bill, which is being proposed following the release of highly edited video footage by anti-abortion group the Center for Medical Progress (CMP).
The CMP's misleading videos claim that Planned Parenthood sells fetal tissue. . . .