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Reading: An Expert and Expectations: A review on Medico-legal opinions in alleged sexual abuse victims

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Original Articles

An Expert and Expectations: A review on Medico-legal opinions in alleged sexual abuse victims

Authors:

P. A. S. Edirisinghe ,

Faculty of Medicine, Ragama, LK
About P. A. S.
Department of Forensic Medicine
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I. D. G. Kitulwatte

Faculty of Medicine, Ragama, LK
About I. D. G.
Department of Forensic Medicine
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Abstract

Introduction:

An expert’s role is to guide the courts in matters related to a particular speciality. In a case of alleged sexual assault an expert is expected to document the history, examination findings and collect available evidence in order to corroborate accounts of sexual assault for courts of law. However in many instances, the medico-legal evidence has shown its limitations and inconsistencies of expert evidence which are known to result in miscarriage of justice.

Objective:

Find out the strengths and limitations that are encountered by an expert when giving opinions in relation to alleged sexual abuse victims

Methodology

Opinions stated in the Medico-Legal Reports (MLR) sent to courts by the authors during the last decade were analyzed. 20 reports from each age group (0-5, 6-10, 11-16, above 16 years) were randomly selected and the allegations and the opinions were analysed according to a scale developed.

Results:

Out of 80 reports analyzed majority were females (female to male 10.4: 1). The allegation in all age groups except primary schooling group was penetration of an orifice. In the age group less than 10 (preschool and primary schooling), the medico-legal opinion did not support the allegation in almost half the cases. (support: non support is 1.05:1). In the age group more than 10 years the opinion supported the allegation (4.9:1). There was a statistically significant difference between these two groups. (p:0.001).

Conclusions :

when the examinee is less than 10 years of age difficulties arose for the medical expert to express an opinion. The law enforcement authorities and the judiciary should be aware of this limitation and it is important to find other corroborative evidence to support or disprove the given allegations.

 

Medico-Legal Journal of Sri Lanka 2015; 3(1) : 10-15
How to Cite: Edirisinghe, P.A.S. & Kitulwatte, I.D.G., (2016). An Expert and Expectations: A review on Medico-legal opinions in alleged sexual abuse victims. Medico-Legal Journal of Sri Lanka. 3(1), pp.10–15. DOI: http://doi.org/10.4038/mljsl.v3i1.7317
Published on 14 Jan 2016.
Peer Reviewed

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