AACs, FNN Paper Asserts Forensic Medical Exams May Be Accommodation for Disabled Crime Victims Under the ADA
September 25, 2023 / Medical Forensic Exams
Adult crime victims with disabilities may qualify for medical forensic examinations as a reasonable accommodation under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), according to a new white paper published by the Adult Advocacy Centers (AACs), in partnership with Forensic Nursing Network.
Forensic nurses have long been recognized as experts in providing medical forensic examinations for victims of violence. However, the healthcare and legal systems have not received the level of training necessary when addressing the medical and legal needs of people with disabilities. Consider that patients may have experienced trauma in the past, possibly even in a medical setting, which can compound their initial fears. Forensic nurse examiners immersed in the care of patients with disabilities provide trauma-responsive care, thus advancing the healthcare response to this patient population.
Unfortunately, the disabled population experiences disproportionately high rates of violent crime, as well as disproportionately low prosecution rates. One of the primary barriers to overcoming these inequities is a legal system that lacks the capacity to work effectively with crime victims with disabilities. This paper explains that specialized forensic nurse examinations and forensic interviews conducted by professionals trained to work with crime victims with disabilities create a pathway to equitable justice.