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Medical students should be taught about rape

Medical students should be given training on how to examine and deal with victims of rape, says an Editorial in this weeks edition of The Lancet. The Editorial says: "Last week, a report from the UK Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs (ACMD) highlighted the serious problem of drug-facilitated sexual assault. The ACMD was particularly concerned about the increased use of -butyrolactone and 1,4-butanedioltwo legal industrial cleanersin sexual assault. In their report, the ACMD acknowledge that alcohol accounts for almost half of all drug-facilitated sexual assaults. This reality makes a recent ruling by a UK appeal court that a student was not raped, because she had voluntarily consumed large quantities of alcohol, even more troubling.

"The ACMD recommends that the Department of Health develop and disseminate guidelines to staff in accident and emergency departments and sexual assault referral centres to improve the management of people who have been victims of alleged drug-facilitated sexual assault. But because people who have been sexually assaulted often do not seek help from emergency departments or the police, should other health-care professionals be trained in the management of rape and sexual assault instead?

"Doctors in different specialties are likely to encounter people who have been sexually assaulted, but often have not received any training in this area. Correct examination, evidence gathering, and immediate medical care are essential but often lacking as the latest report from the Crown Prosecution Service Inspectorate highlights. Only 5% of reported rapes end in conviction, and one of the contributing factors to this appalling statistic is the inconsistency in the way in which doctors examine people who have been sexually assaulted.

"A recent survey of UK medical schools showed that only a quarter provide teaching about sexual assault, with many thinking that this topic is too specialist for the undergraduate cu
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Contact: Tony Kirby
pressoffice@lancet.com
44-020-742-44949
Lancet
12-Apr-2007


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