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Victims of violence and abuse require care from health professionals who are trained to treat trauma and provide medical forensic care for injuries sustained from sexual assault, intimate partner violence, child sexual abuse, elder abuse. Forensic healthcare providers are typically registered nurses, but also include advanced practice nurses, physicians, and physician assistants. They provide medical treatment and evaluation; have a specialized knowledge in injury identification; collect evidence; and offer testimony in a court of law to assist with prosecuting individuals who commit acts of abuse.
The Indian Health Service (IHS) developed its forensic healthcare program in 2011 to address sexual violence. The IHS is expanding its forensic healthcare program to include intimate partner violence, child sexual abuse, and elder maltreatment. The IHS forensic healthcare program enables more American Indians and Alaska Natives to get the care they need by training our health care providers to provide medical forensic examinations, collecting accurate evidence in a timely manner, and participating in coordinated community response aimed at addressing violence.