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Medico legal procedures related to sexual assault: a 10-year retrospective experience of a Daphne protocol application

  • Autori: Zerbo, S.*; Milone, L.; Scalici, E.; Procaccianti, S.; Nardello, R.; Ventura Spagnolo, E.; Piscionieri, D.; Argo, Antonina
  • Anno di pubblicazione: 2018
  • Tipologia: Articolo in rivista (Articolo in rivista)
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Background: Sexual assault is a worldwide problem that has not yet been sufficiently acknowledged as confirmed by the literature. Italian law n.96, 1996, foreseeing norms regarding rape and sexual abuse, finally gave significant relevance to sex crimes. In 2004, the European Commission for Justice Internal Affairs and Social Politics promoted the Daphne II program to support victims of rape and abuse, and the Violence and Operative Healthcare Networks (Ve.R.S.O.) project started at the Policlinico “P. Giaccone” University Hospital of Palermo in 2006. Aim: data analysis emerging from 10 years experience of Daphne protocol utilization for the management of sexual assault victims. Methods: From October 2006 since December 2016 a total of 90 victims of sexual assault were retrospectively investigated. Patients are divided into groups in relation to: gender, age, place of SA, number and type of assailant, nature of sexual assault, presence/absence of physical or genital injuries. Results: Among victims 88 were females (97%) and 2 males (3%); 68 Italians (75.5%) and 22 foreigners (24.5%). At the time the events occurred, 42% (n = 38) of the victims were minors aged less than 16 years. In 11 cases, the age of the victim is not indicated. The assailant was an acquaintance of the victim in 65% of the cases (in 73% of these cases, the assailant was a family member). In 26 cases (28%) happened indoor, 44 cases happened outdoor and in 20 cases there were no data. Evidence of recent acute general body trauma (abrasions, bruises, lacerations) was found in 38 cases (42%); other types of injuries include: genital trauma (14 cases, 15%), genital and body traumas (49 cases, 54%) (tab. 1–2-). In 24 cases (26%) there were no injuries. Among genital trauma, we distinguished vulvo-vaginal lesions (68.5%) and anal lesions (31.5%). We have classified the minor victims using first Adam’s classification and based on Adam’s classification revised in 2015. Conclusion: Application of the Ve.R.S.O project protocol changed and greatly improved health management of victims of violence. By following these procedures, violence and abuse are analyzed from every point of view, also for an appropriate assessment of the medium and long term health consequences of sexual assault. Only in this way are citizens provided with a high level of protection against gender violence, psychological support and prevention from any form of violence which takes place in respect of such vulnerable people.