“Forensic nurses are going to be trained throughout the country to ensure that rape victims get a better service from the state and that good medical evidence is collected to improve the conviction rate of rapists. This decision has been taken by the Department of Health, which is concerned about reports of rape survivors being treated badly by doctors.” (Cullinan, K. 2000. Forensic nurses.)
With this statement the Department of Health appeared to be introducing a policy recognising forensic nursing. But 12 years later the South African Nursing Council (SANC) still does not treat forensic nursing as a specialty, while in some provinces the courts do not recognise forensic nurses as expert witnesses. As a result, forensic nurses are leaving this field and few apply for training in this area – despite the fact that the value of forensic nursing is increasingly being recognised internationally and research emerging of its benefit to rape survivors. Such nurses are trained to examine rape survivors, collect DNA evidence, provide psycho-social support and testify in court. They could also play a particularly important role in rural hospitals, which often experience a shortage of doctors. See also: Why South Africa needs specialised care for rape survivors
Please join us on 12 July to learn more about forensic nursing in South Africa, its benefits and challenges and what needs to be done to make this skill more available to rape survivors.
Venue: Tshwaranang Legal Advocacy Centre Office, 8th Floor Braamfontein Centre, 23 Jorissen Street, Braamfontein
Date and Time: Thursday 12th July 2012 from 10:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.
- Joel Mokonoto from The National Department of Health
- Dr Genine Josias a medical doctor from the Western Cape
- Vincentia Boogie Dlamini a former forensic nurse from Gauteng
- Tandi Mhatu a trained forensic nurse from KwaZulu Natal