Project Description KfN


„Klinisch-forensisches Netzwerk Steiermark“
Juli 2013 bis Dezember 2014

Problem: For victims of violence, which decide to report to the police beside inhibitions, a prompt documentation and conservation of evidence valid in court is important for an objective prosecution. At the moment affected persons only have the option of having an appropriate examination in our Clinical-Forensic Outpatient Center of the Medical University of Graz in cooperation with the Ludwig Boltzmann Institute of Clinical-Forensic Imaging in Graz. Nevertheless, more than a half of all incidents happen in the rest of Styria and affected persons would have to effortfully travel to Graz for an examination. With this project, facilities, in particular hospitals are encouraged to function as regional clinical-forensic contact point. With the support and assistance of the network they are able to perform forensic examinations of people affected by physical and sexual violence.

Objective of the Project: The main goal of the Project “Klinisch-forensisches Netzwerk (KfN) Steiermark” is a full coverage of Styria with easy accessible forensic services for victims of violence, including independent examinations of victims with documentation and conservation of evidence valid in court. In order to reach this goal local clinical-forensic contact points have to be established and connected to build the network. With the KfN Network we also attempt creating a standard of a uniform and professional approach to conduct forensic examinations and documentations. In addition to helping victims the network supports physicians in Styria as well as other authorities and institutions with advisory support from forensic experts clarifying suspicious cases. Another goal is to raise awareness in order to recognize and prevent violent behavior in social environment. Securing objective evidence will improve the position of victims of violence in court. With this clinical-forensic network model Styria will be able to fulfil a pioneering role in Austria and therefore serve as an example for other Austrian States.

Tasks and Methods: Within the framework of the KfN Network we are working towards establishing throughout Styria contact points for victims of violence, but also for physicians who have to deal with affected persons of physical and/or sexual violence in order to offer clinical-forensic examinations, the conservation of evidence as well as a complete documentation of the results. We are encouraging hospitals, ideally with an emergency service and knowledge of gynecology to partner with us. Special trainings and interdisciplinary exchanges between the different institutions of the KfN Network aims at guaranteeing a high quality of the documentation. Meetings on a regular basis support the contact and exchange of knowledge of all parties involved. A Styrian-wide KfN Hotline (contactable 24/7) helps physicians and nursing professionals to clarify issues regarding physical and sexual violence. Furthermore, an online forum enables participants of the Network to discuss as well as ask other experts questions. Scientifically, the Project KfN is considered from a juridical, medical and socio-scientific perspective. We conduct a survey among medical and nursing professionals assessing the necessity of specialized clinical-forensic examination facilities documenting data and facts on the benefits and consequently ensure a long-term financing and formal institutionalization. Supported by the Project national and international partners are cooperating in order to professionally exchange experiences regarding clinical-forensic medicine.