The Forensic Medicine department at Baylor Scott & White Health provides compassionate, sensitive, timely care for victims of sexual assault, domestic violence, and child abuse or neglect.
Available 24 hours a day for consultation, our specialty team works with advocates, law enforcement and members of the criminal justice system to provide victim-centered care.
The department is comprised of a multidisciplinary team trained in incorporating medical evidence collection with comprehensive medical assessment and care.
- Pediatric and adolescent gynecologists
- Child life specialists
- Emergency department staff
- Forensic nurses certified as Sexual Assault Nurse Examiners (SANE)
- Physicians trained in physical abuse, neglect and sexual abuse
- Social work team
- Radiology staff
Trained staff collect evidence and can provide testimony to be used in a court of law to apprehend or prosecute individuals who commit violent and abusive acts.
Unique to Central Texas, Scott & White Medical Center – Temple and Baylor Scott & White McLane Children’s Medical Center – Temple staff serve individuals in an eight-county area, including Bell, McLellan, Falls, Milam, Coryell, Lampasas, Burnet and Williamson Counties. A team at Baylor Scott & White Medical Center – College Station serves the Brazos Valley.
Sexual Assault Services
When sexual assault has occurred—including forced sexual intercourse, forced sodomy, child molestation, incest, fondling and attempted rape— a forensic nurse who is a Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner (SANE) is often involved. SANEs are registered nurses who have completed specialized education and clinical preparation in the medical forensic care of a patient who has experienced sexual abuse or assault. They are certified by the Texas Office of Attorney General to provide care for pediatric and adult patients.
In sexual assault cases, a forensic nurse provides the following:
- History gathering
- Head-to-toe physical exam
- Detailed genital exam
- Forensic evidence collection with photo documentation of injury
- Medicine to prevent sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) and pregnancy from a sexual assault
- Information and services for counseling, shelter and crime victim compensation
- Follow-up care
Domestic Violence Services
In domestic violence cases, a forensic exam is available with or without law enforcement reporting. The forensic nurse provides the following:
- History gathering
- Physical exam with photo documentation of injury
- Information and services for counseling, shelter and legal aid
- Details about local resources, including Families In Crisis advocacy
Child Abuse and Neglect Services
Baylor Scott & White McLane Children’s has a specialized Child Protection Team that provides medical, emotional and legal support for childhood victims. The Child Protection Team provides the following:
- Forensic exam with photo documentation
- Partnership with law enforcement to document what happened and identify evidence
- Medical care with compassion and emotional support
- Mental health support and spiritual counseling
- Access to community resources including the Department of Family and Protective Services, Families in Crisis and the Children’s Advocacy Center
Physicians and forensic nurses may testify as expert witnesses about child abuse injuries or sexual assault during court cases.
Community Outreach and Education
Our Forensic Medicine department is dedicated to preventing future traumas. We are working in the community to educate schools and other civic groups about prevention of abuse, neglect, violence and assault. We offer continuing education for health professionals, law enforcement, social workers and members of the criminal justice system.
If you’ve been a victim of assault, time is of the essence. Evidence can be collected up to 96 hours after an assault. Take the following steps as quickly as possible:
- Call the police department or 911*
- Do not bathe, shower, swim, brush teeth or change clothes. The clothing worn during an assault may provide valuable forensic evidence.
- Go to your nearest emergency room and request to be seen by a SANE. Bring a change of clothes to the hospital, if possible. If you already changed clothes, bring the original clothes in a paper bag.
Did You Know…
- Even if you are in a relationship with someone or have been sexually active before, this does not give them consent at any time.
- Consent cannot be obtained when either party is under the influence of alcohol.
- Individuals are often afraid to report assault if underage drinking or drug use were involved. An assault exam does not investigate drinking or drug use.
*Reporting to the police is always best but you can have a medical forensic exam without reporting to police if you are 18 years of age or older.