Gathering evidence through forensic sampling, toxicology, documentation of injuries and provision of a statement to support the criminal justice system.
This occupation is found in Sexual Assault Referral Centres and within pathways for sexual violence services and police custodial settings.
The broad purpose of the occupation is the unique element to this role is to provide evidence for the police, understanding the ethical frameworks which healthcare in the criminal justice system encounters and ensure complex decision making takes into account the individuals rights, our professional bodies standards and also respects that there is a public interest and a right to justice. Uniquely, the role of a forensic practitioner includes evidence gathering through forensic sampling, toxicology, documentation of injuries and provision of a statement to support the criminal justice system. This is required to be impartial and objective The role of an advanced forensic practitioner includes evidence gathering through forensic sampling, toxicology, documentation of injuries and provision of oral and written testimony to support the criminal justice system. In both environments, a forensic practitioner works as an autonomous individual undertaking triage, assessment and care plan formation which meets the needs of the criminal justice system, healthcare and safeguarding.
In sexual offence, the practitioner provides crisis intervention and empowerment of those who have been subject to sexual violence. This includes trauma informed assessment of acute healthcare needs primarily around sexual health and avoidance of pregnancy, mental health and emotional distress, drugs and alcohol, safeguarding and wider vulnerability and ongoing care. This leads to a unique care plan for each individual. The core element of the practitioner will be to provide clients with choices on routes to report crimes or to be a ‘self referral’ pathway. In addition, the role will be to provide expert opinion on the interpretation of injuries and other key areas for juries to understand the evidence base underpinning sexual assault.
In custody, the forensic practitioner supports the welfare of detainees whilst in custody. These include physical assessment of acute and chronic health needs, mental health and emotional distress, drugs and alcohol dependency, safeguarding and wider vulnerability and ongoing care. Part of the role is also to ascertain fitness to interview and detain and ensure the human rights and needs of the individual are managed in custody setting where complex needs are common place.
In their daily work, an employee in this occupation interacts with police, independent sexual violence advisers, crisis workers, sexual health services, mental health, substance misuse, acute trusts namely Emergency Departments, legal teams including Crown Prosecution Services, GPs, social workers, third sector organisations, safeguarding roles, court staff, detention staff (who may be a private provider), liaison and diversion teams, mental health, substance misuse, ambulance trusts and court transfer teams, ‘appropriate adult’ services, language line, lay visitors, Independent Office for Police Complaints, Inspectorate of Justice, probation and Youth Offenders Teams. The custody role is carried out in police custody however practitioners do travel to other venues such as hospitals and court.
In sexual violence, this role is carried out in the Sexual Assault Referral Centre however practitioners do travel to other venues such as prisons, care homes, hospitals. alleged victims home and court. This person is an autonomous practitioner who has responsibility for the health and well being of individuals who are within the criminal justice system. They undertake decisions related to the fitness to be processed through the criminal justice system, forensic examination, mapping injuries and the collection and storage of forensic samples for court and attend court to give evidence.They work as the lead professional supporting a team, with access to senior advice through remote contact with a senior practitioner. Alongside this role, they make autonomous decision regarding the health and wider social needs of the person. They would report to a line manager, either a clinical lead or SARC Manager.
Summary of Standard