Intended for healthcare professionals


Sexual violence must be treated as medical emergency, charity says

BMJ 2009; 338 doi: (Published 05 March 2009) Cite this as: BMJ 2009;338:b850

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  1. Jacqui Wise
  1. 1London

    Sexual violence should be treated as a medical emergency, with immediate medical care universally available, says a report from the medical charity Médicins Sans Frontières (MSF).

    The report, Shattered Lives, says that the provision of medical care within days of a rape can limit health risks for the victim. Yet in many countries access to tailored health services is either severely limited or non-existent.

    Thilde Knudsen, MSF adviser on sexual and reproductive health, said, “A victim of sexual violence is already suffering huge trauma and added to this is anxiety about possibly having contracted HIV or being pregnant. If they can be given fast access to medical care this can …

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