Victims of violence and abuse require care from health professionals who are trained to treat trauma and provide forensic medical care for injuries sustained from sexual assault, intimate partner violence, child sexual abuse, and elder abuse. Forensic healthcare providers are typically registered nurses, but are also advanced practice nurses, physicians, and physician assistants. They provide medical treatment and evaluation, have a specialized knowledge in injury identification, collect evidence, and provide testimony in a court of law to assist with prosecution of individuals who commit acts of abuse.
The IHS forensic healthcare program was established in 2011 to address sexual violence, and has expanded to include intimate partner violence, child sexual abuse, and elder maltreatment. The program trains providers in forensic medical examinations, evidence collection techniques, and in coordinated community response to address violence.