Patients hurt during intimate partner abuse are crime victims who may seek legal relief and protection from one or more court systems. What the health care provider documents or does not document may have tremendous forensic implications; yet, most health care providers have received little formal training in clinical forensics. Being subpoenaed to court as a witness can trigger fear and anxiety. This article reviews the basic principles of clinical forensic documentation, evidence collection and preservation, forensic photography, and accurate wound identification, as well as tips on working with police and on testifying in court.
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