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Forensic Investigation of Sex Crimes in Colombia

NCJ Number
Journal of Forensic Nursing Volume: 3 Issue: 3 & 4 Dated: Fall/Winter 2007 Pages: 112-116
Nancy B. Cabelus; Gary T. Sheridan
Date Published
5 pages
This article examines victimization by sexual assault in Colombia in terms of public health and safety, and the collaborative efforts between the United States and Colombian governments to change the criminal justice system and strengthen forensic investigation of sex crimes in Colombia.
By educating health care and law enforcement professional in Colombia, the forensic nurse could be a valuable resource in changing the course of action within the existing systems. Collaboration between the health care and criminal justice systems would help identify existing capabilities and limitations of practitioners who currently collect evidence. The forensic nursing practice could have a profound impact on preventing and treating sexual violence. Colombia lacks primary prevention programs that deal with personal safety, intimate partner violence and sexual assault. Forensic nurses can educate patients about sexual violence thereby providing primary prevention through community awareness. Since the implementation of the United States Department of Justice (USDOJ) International Criminal Investigative Training Assistance Program (ICITAP) in Colombia, which provides law enforcement, forensic experts, medical professionals, and prosecutors with training and technical assistance in the proper collection, analysis, and presentation of sexual assault physical evidence at trial, there was a 27 percent increase in reporting of sex crimes in Colombia in 2006. The ICITAP project has bolstered forensic investigation of sex crimes in the country by initiating training courses for Colombian law enforcement personnel and medical examiners on collecting and documenting forensic evidence at both the crime scene and clinical arenas. Further, ICITAP has provided an array of technological resources, including office and laboratory equipment. In Bogota in October 2006, ICITAP hosted the 1st Symposium on the Investigation of Sexual Assault Crimes. Over 250 investigators, prosecutors, forensic specialists, judges, members of the Colombian Congress, social services counselors, and medical professionals attended. Participants in the project continue to work on improving the quality of forensic investigation and reduce rates of sex crimes that go without investigation, arrest, or prosecution in Colombia; nevertheless this program has earned the respect, trust, and gratitude from the Colombian people. References