Insult to injury? the medical investigation of rape in England and Wales

K. Kelly, G. Moon, Yvonne Bradshaw, Steve Savage

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The vast majority of police surgeons/forensic medical examiners (FMEs) are general practitioners who assist the police on a largely part-time basis in relation to matters requiring medical expertise, including the medical examination of rape complainants. This paper considers the development of a ‘specialist’ cadre of women FMEs to examine female rape complainants. Gaps in the legislation surrounding this aspect of FME work are examined. The paper draws on previously unpublished data to suggest that the generalist background of such doctors, together with conflicting demands on their time, may limit their effectiveness in rape cases and subsequently their contribution to the criminal justice process. The paper concludes that, on its own, recruitment of women FMEs is an insufficient response to the needs of rape complainants.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)409-420
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Social Welfare and Family Law
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1998


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