Suspect Examinations

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The purpose of this project is to compile the best forensic nursing practices regarding suspect examinations, collaborate with law enforcement and legal counsel, and propose an established protocol for a non-profit sexual assault examiner program in Michigan, to use as a guide for practice. Just as evidence is transmittable from the suspect to the victim, it can also be transmitted from the victim to the suspect. According to research, major components of a suspect exam include gathering a medical history which includes anogenital injury, history of surgeries and medical problems, any procedures that can influence physical findings, and history of chronic illnesses. A Miranda Warning must be issued before the medical history is collected and if a suspect chooses to invoke their right to remain silent, the medical history will be skipped entirely. A proposed protocol will include a voluntary suspect exam or a court-ordered suspect exam and must be a person suspected of a sexual assault crime. Collaboration within the multi-disciplinary team is essential in the adoption and implementation of this policy change. Forensic nurses must first create awareness of the need for this change, encourage the choice to adopt this change, implement this change, and ensure the continued success of this implementation.