Chapter 7
Additional options for reform

Increasing the availability of medical evidence

7.15In Chapter 4, we described both the importance of victims of strangulation obtaining medical assessments and the difficulty they often experience in doing so. Victims of sexual assault are directed to doctors specifically trained in treating and documenting sexual assault. There is no similar service for victims of family violence. Sometimes, the Police direct victims to local doctors specialising in family violence, but that may be only for the most serious cases and is much more likely in large centres.

7.16It is beyond the scope of this project to examine how victims of strangulation can have better access to specialised medical assessments, and we suspect that this is a wider issue for family violence more generally. However, it is clear that a medical assessment documenting the internal and psychological signs and symptoms (as well as the external, visible signs) provides useful evidence in criminal proceedings, and lack of access to a medical assessment is therefore a potential barrier to effective prosecution.