Faculty of Clinical Forensic Medicine
Established in 2014, the RCPA Faculty of Clinical Forensic Medicine was founded to be the representative and training body for doctors working in the field of Clinical Forensic Medicine. Our objectives are to foster the highest standards in the provision of clinical forensic medicine.
Clinical Forensic Medicine is that branch of medicine concerned with ‘the provision of forensic medical services primarily to the living and the collection and interpretation of information for the purposes of civil and criminal law, the judiciary and the police. It is that branch of clinical medicine that deals with both the medical and legal aspects of patient care.
To pursue excellence in the discipline of Clinical Forensic Medical Services to contribute to the health, wellbeing and safety of the Australasian community.
The Faculty’s mission is to:
Provide professional standards for Australasian doctors who provide Clinical Forensic Medical services;
Promote and encourage education, research and training in the field of Clinical Forensic Medicine including ongoing professional development opportunities and maintenance of professional skills schemes;
Promote and facilitate greater co-operation between Clinical Forensic Medical practitioners with other participants involved in the legal system, such as the forensic scientists, legal practitioners, justice health providers and law enforcement;
Foster a better understanding of Clinical Forensic Medicine, both within the medical profession and among the general public; and
Seek and maintain formal recognition of Clinical Forensic Medicine as a specialty.
- Examination and treatment of alleged victims and perpetrators of crimes against the person, evidence collection and the documentation and interpretation of injuries. This includes sexual assault and child abuse and neglect.
- Attendance at crime and death scenes and the provision of advice to investigators regarding medical aspects of the case.
- Examination and treatment of police detainees, including evidentiary examinations and evidence collection.
- Assessment of fitness to be interviewed by police, and fitness to appear before the courts.
- Assessment of and the provision of medico-legal opinions involving traffic medicine including injury interpretation, drug and alcohol effects, medical causes contributing to crash causation and fitness to drive.
- Assessment of and the provision of expert opinions regarding the clinical effects and toxicology of alcohol and drugs.
- Expert opinions regarding medical issues for the legal system including criminal prosecutions, coronial investigations, medical board investigations and civil litigation.
- Preparation of medico-legal reports and presentation of expert evidence in court.
- Education (professional and general public) and research.
The term "clinical" implies a service to the living and this distinguishes this field from that of forensic pathology. In reality, the practice of clinical forensic medicine and forensic pathology have considerable overlap, despite the obvious difference depending on whether the patient is living or dead.
In 2014 and 2015, three separate rounds of applications for Founding Fellows were opened via a strict peer review process. As a result, 92 Fellows were admitted into Founding Fellowship. The period for Founding Fellowships ended on 31 December, 2015. Fellowship is now obtainable by training and assessment. The training programs and fellowship by examination pathway are currently under development. In addition to formalising training for doctors in clinical forensic medicine, the Faculty's aims are to:
- Ensure the maintenance of standards in the provision of clinical forensic medical services;
- Foster research in the field; and
- Form linkages with other peak clinical forensic medicine bodies.