Forensic Compliance Resources

Forensic Compliance Resources

This information is designed to:

  • communicate the requirements of the Violence Against Women Act (as reauthorized in 2005 and 2013), and
  • offer recommended practices for implementation.

The goal is to highlight examples of communities striving to achieve a higher standard of the “spirit of the law,” rather than simply meeting the “letter of the law” for VAWA forensic compliance.  It is critically important that readers consult state laws and regulations, as well as local policies and protocols, because they may have additional requirements beyond those included in VAWA 2005 and VAWA 2013.  For more information specific to your state or territory, contact the STOP Grant Administrator or coalition of advocacy organizations providing services for sexual assault victims.  A listing is available from the website for the Office on Violence Against Women, U.S. Department of Justice.

  • Topic

4 results.

This training bulletin series explores the tension that is sometimes experienced between law enforcement and victim advocates in the community. It offers a detailed description of the advocate’s role during the criminal justice process, with particular focus on their involvement during forensic exams or interviews. Next, the bulletin addresses the fact that many law enforcement officers, forensic examiners, and other community professionals are reluctant to involve advocates in the process, so we address some of the common factors underlying this reluctance and offer strategies to resolve them.

The article was written by Dr. Kim Lonsway and Joanne Archambault of EVAW International; it is an excerpt from the training module on Effective Victim Advocacy within the Criminal Justice System that is available in the OnLine Training Institute (OLTI).

The June 2011 issue of the Journal of Forensic Nursing (JFN) features an article by Kim Lonsway and Joanne Archambault, addressing the issues of VAWA forensic compliance. This article was written in response to a previous one in the same journal by author Bonnie Price. In it, Price described how complex and challenging the issues of forensic compliance are for communities and emphasized the critical role that forensic nurses and multidisciplinary collaboration play in achieving this goal. Given the significance of this topic, we sought to clarify a few issues in our reply. We also explored additional implications for the criminal justice and community response system, and highlighted the TA resources that are available, including those offered by EVAWI.

If you do not personally subscribe to JFN, you can get a copy of the article from a library or colleague who does. Otherwise, you can
purchase a copy of the article for $35, by visiting the website: You will need to register with the publisher’s online store (John Wiley & Sons), before ordering a copy of the article.

The September 2010 issue of Police Chief magazine features an article by Kim Lonsway and Joanne Archambault, addressing the issues of VAWA 2005 forensic compliance. In this article, we explain the provisions of VAWA 2005 that pertain to medical forensic exams for sexual assault victims, and outline some of the challenges seeking to implement compliant protocols. By depicting the realities that face sexual assault victims, we seek to help law enforcement executives understand why so many victims decide they are unable to report the crime and participate in the police investigation. Yet we also highlight the consequences of non-reporting, which often denies victims access to community services and gives perpetrators a free pass to continue offending with impunity.

This article summarizes the primary provisions of VAWA 2005 regarding forensic examinations — those addressing access and payment, especially for victims who do not participate in a law enforcement investigation. It also clarifies how the issues interact with questions of medical mandated reporting and law enforcement authorization of forensic examinations. However, readers must keep in mind that the article was originally written in 2006, and does not include VAWA 2013 provisions. It was written by Dr. Kim Lonsway and Joanne Archambault of EVAW International, and the description of VAWA 2005 provisions was reviewed by Marnie Shiels, Attorney Advisor for the Office on Violence Against Women, U.S. Department of Justice. The article was published in Sexual Assault Report, 2007, Volume 10, Number 5, pp. 65, 74-77 by the Civic Research Institute.