Health care providers collect an array of documentation and specimens to support criminal investigations. Such documentation and specimens are referred to as “medico-legal” or “forensic” evidence, and in the case of rape, include a survivor’s documented injuries and emotional state at the time of examination, as well as samples and specimens from the survivor’s body or clothing. For survivors of rape and defilement who want to obtain legal justice, medico-legal evidence is critical. In African countries, health providers and the police are depended upon to ensure such evidence is collected, but medico-legal evidence collection can present challenges. Evidence-based interventions are needed to improve the efficacy of medico-legal and forensic evidence collection. In collaboration with the Population Council-led Africa Regional SGBV Network, UNHCR’s East, Horn of Africa, and Great Lakes (EHAGL) Regional Bureau has been facilitating the integration of a tested intervention to improve medico-legal evidence collection within its operational programming. This brief provides notable lessons from these efforts.
Gaitho, Michael, Ronald Kotut, Anne Ngunjiri, Jane T. Thiomi, Josephine Ngebeh, and Chi-Chi Undie. 2020. "Practice-based learning: Medico-legal evidence collection as part of post-rape care in refugee contexts," Sauti/VOICE Program Brief Series, no. 6. Nairobi: UNHCR EHAGL Africa Bureau, LVCT Health, and Population Council.
‘SAUTI’/VOICE: Violence Response and Prevention through Information, Communication, and Evidence