In this section
Documenting a child’s injuries is an important aspect of a
forensic assessment and should always be performed carefully. When possible adequate
photographic or video documentation should be used in conjunction to medical
notes and use of diagrams. However, when video or photo-documentation is not
available, diagrams and written descriptions of examination findings may be
adequate for evidentiary purposes.
Consideration should be given to video recording the
colposcopic examination in every child examined in the context of suspected
sexual abuse. Video-recording of a genital and anal examination is strongly
N.B. A support person of the child’s choice could be present
during the examination unless the child requests that the examination occur in
the absence of a support person, in which case VFPMS strongly encourages the
presence of an independent observer (for example a CASA worker or a
Identifying data (child’s name, UR, date of examination and
initials of the examiner) should be recorded at the commencement of the
The examination findings and the medical professional’s
interpretation of these findings should be discussed with the child and their
The video-documentation should be stored securely in a
locked receptacle (filing cabinet or safe). No copies should be made of
video-documentation of genital examinations. Doctors should keep a written log
to be stored with the video-documentation to facilitate audit and quality
The decision whether or not to video-record the genital
examination lies with the examining doctor and is dependent on appropriate
medical indications and informed consent from the child’s guardian and assent
from the child.
Informed consent for photographic or video-documentation
must be obtained from the child’s guardian. The Gillick principle might enable
mature children / young persons to provide their own consent.
Video-documentation should not proceed in the absence of the child’s assent (at
the least, consent at the best).