I’ve spent the last two weeks in Sacramento, CA attending a Sexual Assault Forensic Examination (SAFE) training sponsored by the California Clinical Forensic Medicine Training Center. Forensic basically means the application of medical or scientific knowledge to legal issues. I like the definition that one of the doctors gave: “The application of science for social justice”.

The first week covered pediatric and adolescent issues, and the second covered adults as well as adolescents. The syllabus included topics such as the forensic history taking, evidentiary examination, injuries that may be sustained, forensic photography, and testifying in court. We had lectures and skills stations with criminalists who explained the best way to collect evidence and what they do with it after they receive it in the lab.  It was an intense, interesting, and very valuable course.

While Thailand and other Asian countries have their own systems of forensics, I now have a greater understanding of of forensic medicine in the area of sexual assault and abuse and its appropriate application. This will strengthen Relentless’ ability to work with and provide consultation to organizations, both non-governmental as well as governmental. I’ll also be giving a series of workshops on child abuse and neglect to residents at Chiang Mai University later this year.