Sexual and reproductive health

Strengthening the medico-legal response to sexual violence

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Authors:
WHO and United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC)

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Publication details

Number of pages: 38
Publication date: November 2015
Languages: English, French
WHO reference number: WHO/RHR/15.24

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Background

In the past 20 years, increasing attention has been paid to ending impunity for perpetrators of sexual violence in conflict-affected settings and to achieving assistance and justice for victims. It is acknowledged that this is an important part of the response to sexual violence. While there have been significant advances, there remains a lack of clarity about what medico-legal evidence should be collected to support national and international criminal justice processes

Medico-legal evidence is at the intersection of medical and justice processes and appropriate implementation requires coordination between the range of actors and sectors involved in prevention of, and response to, sexual violence; these include health services, social services, forensic medicine, forensic lab services, police/ investigation, and the legal system, including lawyers and judge

This toolkit is practitioner focused and addresses key knowledge gaps within and between sectors, to help support service provision and coordination in low-resource settings. It is part of a World Health Organization (WHO) and United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) Project on Strengthening Medico-Legal Services for Sexual Violence Cases in Conflict-Affected Settings, supported by United Nations Action against Sexual Violence in Conflict (UN Action).