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Sexual Assault Documentation Program

Willoughby, Vickie DO*; Heger, Astrid MD; Rogers, Christopher MD*; Sathyavagiswaran, Lakshmanan MD*

The American Journal of Forensic Medicine and Pathology: March 2012 - Volume 33 - Issue 1 - p 22–25
doi: 10.1097/PAF.0b013e3181dd5b74
Original Articles

Since 2001, the Los Angeles County Department of Coroner has collaborated with Los Angeles County-University of Southern California Medical Center Violence Intervention Program and their Sexual Assault Center. The partnership was established at the suggestion of the district attorney’s office to enhance the clinical recognition of sexual assault in the medical examiner’s office using the extensive experience of experts in the field of sexual assault. As of December 2008, over 5 dozen victims of sexual assault have been evaluated with this collaboration. The partnership relied on the expertise of 2 pediatricians who are established clinical experts in the field of sexual abuse and assault, in collaboration with the staff of the medical examiner’s office. In cases of suspected sexual assault, a joint evaluation by the clinical experts and the medical examiner was made. The goal of the project was for the medical examiners to become more confident in their observations and documentation of crimes of sexual abuse. Even though they are still available upon request, consultations with the sexual assault experts have decreased as the skills of the medical examiner to evaluate sexual assault cases have increased.

From the *Los Angeles County Department of Coroner, Los Angeles, CA; and †Department of Pediatrics, Keck School of Medicine of the University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA.

Manuscript received November 9, 2009; accepted December 23, 2009.

This paper was presented in part at the National Association of Medical Examiner’s meeting in Nashville, Tennessee on September 14, 2004 entitled “Enhanced Recognition of Sexual Assault—A Partnership Between a Sexual Assault Center and the Medical Examiner-Coroner” by L. Sathyavagiswaran, MD and A. Heger, MD.

The authors report no conflicts of interest.

Reprints: Christopher Rogers, MD, 1104 N, Mission Rd, Los Angeles, CA 90033. E-mail:

© 2012 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.