In assault cases, when it’s a victim’s word against the abuser’s, medical evidence can make or break a criminal case.
For decades in San Diego County, victims of sexual assault and child abuse have been examined by specially trained forensic nurses who expertly document their injuries to aid in prosecution.
Now, due to a grant from the state Office of Emergency Services, some domestic violence victims will get the same treatment.
“When you’re talking about crimes that are hard to prove, this additional piece of evidence can be the difference in holding an offender accountable,” said San Diego police Lt. Misty Cedrun.
Cedrun heads the Family Justice Center, a comprehensive domestic violence treatment center in San Diego.
“It’s an opportunity to let the injuries speak for themselves. It’s so compelling,” she said.
The grant will fund 130 domestic assault forensic examinations, which will be conducted by forensic nurses with Palomar Health. Any law enforcement agency in the county can request the service, free of charge.