Press Release

Minister Harney congratulates Nurses on qualifying in Sexual Assault Forensic Examination

The Minister for Health and Children Mary Harney TD today (30th January, 2009) congratulated the first group of eight nurses who have completed the academic component of the Higher Diploma in Nursing (Sexual Assault Forensic Examination), many of them achieving a distinction. These nurses/midwives will undertake the clinical forensic examination of victims of sexual violence in Sexual Assault Treatment Units (SATU’s) as well as providing much needed holistic care to these victims. This will be of great benefit to the people who find themselves facing the trauma associated with sexual assault and violence.

The nurses/midwives who completed the programme will work in existing Sexual Assault Treatment Units in Dublin, Cork, Letterkenny and Waterford and will also be available to work in the two new units which are under development in Mullingar and Galway.

Minister Harney said “This is a important achievement for the students and all concerned with the development, implementation and successful completion of the first programme and I extend my congratulations and best wishes to all concerned.”

The Report “Sexual Assault Treatment Services – A National Review” (2006) recommended the introduction of a pilot programme in Forensic Nursing to support the roll-out and development of the Sexual Assault Treatment Units (SATU’s) nationally. Eight students were sponsored to undertake the Higher Diploma in Nursing (Sexual Assault Forensic Examination) in the RCSI. The 1 year pilot programme which commenced in December 2007 had the following objectives;

Equip participants with the knowledge, skills and competence to carry out forensic clinical examinations in a systematic objective manner, whilst caring for the victim, recognising their physiological and psychological trauma.

Equip participants with the knowledge, skills and competency to provide appropriate care to victims, while contributing to and participating in an integrated team approach to service delivery.

Provide participants with the professional skills to document, provide reports and present the findings in the appropriate settings and context.

Provide participants with the skills to conduct and utilise audit and research, which will contribute to the care of victims of sexual assault.

An evaluation of the programme is being undertaken to determine its future direction.