Hill Country Children's Advocacy Center
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Forensic Medical Exams

Forensic Medical Exam


What is a Forensic Medical Exam?

A forensic medical examination is performed by specially trained Sexual Assault Nurse Examiners (SANEs) for the purpose of evaluation and treatment of trauma, treatment of possible exposure to infection, referral to counseling and follow-up medical care, and for the collection of evidence following a report of sexual assault by a victim. The medical well-being of the patient is the primary objective of the SANE at all times during the examination.

Who performs the exam?

Forensic medical exams are performed by nurses who are specifically trained to:

  • Provide comprehensive care to patients who are victims of sexual assault, physical abuse or neglect
  • Demonstrate competency in conducting a medical forensic exam to include evaluation for evidence collection
  • Have the expertise to provide effective courtroom testimony
  • Show compassion and sensitivity to children victimized by abuse or neglect

What to Expect

The medical exam will take place at HCCAC in a child-friendly medical exam room. The exam will include a medical history from the caregiver as well as from the child. The child will receive a thorough head to toe exam similar to a normal check-up at a pediatrician’s office.  This exam will also include an external inspection of the genitalia and anal area to assess for trauma.

If your child receives a medical examination, explain that this is to make sure that his or her body is ok and healthy. Assure your child that this exam will not hurt and that the medical examiner will tell your child everything that she will be doing prior to the exam. Nevertheless, despite your reassurances children may feel worried, embarrassed or uncomfortable about their exam. It is normal for children to feel anxious about their examination. The nurse will take as much time as necessary to help children throughout the medical evaluation by explaining each step of the check-up and finding ways to put the child at ease.