Forensic Healthcare Practitioner Week 2022

Introduction

The UK’s first ever Forensic Healthcare Practitioner Week will be held between 7th-13th November 2022 to recognise, celebrate and raise awareness of forensic healthcare practitioners. During the week the UK Association of Forensic Nurses and Paramedics will share daily stories on its website and social media sites (Twitter: @ukafn, Facebook /ukafn, Instagram, ukafn. Forensic Healthcare Practitioner Week coincides with the International Association of Forensic Nurses ‘Forensic Nurses Week’. The UK has a wider multidisciplinary approach to forensic healthcare, hence we have chosen a title which reflects that diversity. Forensic healthcare practitioners work at the front door of the Criminal Justice System. Working at an intersection between health, justice and forensics with a dual patient and medico-legal responsibility. For Nurses, Midwives and Paramedics, this involves working at an advanced practice level, characterised by a high degree of autonomy and complex decision-making.

Forensic healthcare practitioners work in either police custody or sexual assault referral centres, although some work across both settings. They are responsible for assessing and treating any injuries or minor illnesses, recognising conditions that require onward referral. Both groups are responsible for forensic examinations and sampling, providing written statements for the courts and giving oral testimony in court as required. They do have some differences, outlined below.

Police custody

  • Forensic medical examination (including forensic sampling and documentation of injuries);
  • Assess an individual’s fitness to be detained, interviewed;
  • Assess and manage individuals presenting with a wide range of undiagnosed and undifferentiated complaints, including those presenting with mental illness, self-harm and suicidal thoughts;
  • Assess and manage individuals in relation to drug and alcohol intoxication and withdrawal.

Sexual assault referral centres

  • Forensic medical examination (including forensic sampling and documentation of injuries);
  • Holistic healthcare (i.e., sexual health, pregnancy, mental health and safeguarding risk assessments, planning and onward referrals).

Aims

Forensic Healthcare Practitioner Week sets out to:

  • Celebrate Forensic Healthcare Practitioners around the UK for the vital role they play inkeeping people safe and assisting the Criminal Justice System in achieving justice.
  • Recognise the positive impact Forensic Healthcare Practitioners can have on potentiallya traumatic experiences for individuals who are already vulnerable.
  • Raise awareness of the role of the Forensic Healthcare Practitioner to wider healthcare services and the population. We can take this opportunity to raise the awareness of Sexual Assault Referral Centres for those who have experienced sexual assault orviolence.
  • Promote the profession to inspire others to consider it a career option.

Theme for 2022

The theme for the UK’s first Forensic Healthcare Practitioner Week is raising awareness of the role. We are asking any Forensic Healthcare Practitioner to share what they enjoy about their role within their network. We are also calling on all those that work with Forensic Healthcare Practitioners in either the Sexual Assault Referral Centres or Police custody either directly or indirectly to share their support.

About the UK Association of Forensic Nurses and Paramedics

The UK Association of Forensic Nurses and Paramedics represents forensic healthcare practitioners across the UK lead by our President, Jennie Smith.

Help after rape and sexual assault

If you’ve been sexually assaulted it’s important to remember that it was not your fault. Sexual violence is a crime, no matter who commits it or where it happens. Don’t be afraid to get help. Find your nearest sexual assault referral centre (SARC); England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.

Download a ‘Certificate of Recognition’

Why not download and print a ‘Certificate of Recognition to give to a colleague or colleagues during the week? Make sure to get a photo and share it on Twitter, Facebook to Instagram with the hashtag #FHPWeek.

Social media assets

Please feel free to download, share and use.

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Social media post (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn)