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Original Articles

Practices and attitudes of specialists in Forensic Medicine in the management of general health care needs of victims of sexual violence

Authors:

J. Perera ,

University of Colombo, LK
About J.

Department of Forensic Medicine and Toxicology,

Faculty of Medicine

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C. Arambepola,

University of Colombo, LK
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Department of Community Medicine

Faculty of Medicine

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P. Wijeratne

University of Colombo, LK
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Department of Forensic Medicine and Toxicology

Faculty of Medicine

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Abstract

Introduction

The emphasis of sexual assault forensic management (SAFM) in Sri Lanka has been mainly pertaining to collection of forensic evidence and as a referral point to other specialist services.

Objectives

To describe the practice and attitudes of Specialists in Forensic Medicine (SpFM) regarding the management of general health care needs in victims of sexual violence as part of sexual assault forensic management (SAFM) with a view to providing a victim friendly management.

Methods

A cross-sectional study was conducted to include all practicing (SpFM) in Sri Lanka. Victim cantred practices as well as attitudes underlying their practice were assessed using a self-administered questionnaire.

Results

The response rate was 52.08% (n=25). 92% of the SpFM were males and had a mean age of 45.48years (SD=5.561). Many (48%) felt that only those who appeared to be psychologically disturbed need to be referred to a counselor. The majority (72%) never provided and 32% never prescribed emergency contraceptive pills (ECP) to victims. Most of them strongly disagreed that giving emergency contraception or reviewing the victim introduced victim bias.

Conclusions

Despite positive attitudes towards victim-friendly management, health care needs like pregnancy prevention and relieving psychological distress were not addressed adequately. Fear of being accused of victim bias was not a significant factor for not taking adequate steps. It could be due to inadequate awareness regarding new developments in victim friendly management and hesitancy to change existing practice during SAFM.


Medico-Legal Journal of Sri Lanka 2013; 1(3) : 1-7

How to Cite: Perera, J., Arambepola, C. & Wijeratne, P., (2015). Practices and attitudes of specialists in Forensic Medicine in the management of general health care needs of victims of sexual violence. Medico-Legal Journal of Sri Lanka. 1(3), pp.1–7. DOI: http://doi.org/10.4038/mljsl.v1i3.7299
Published on 11 Dec 2015.
Peer Reviewed

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