Course Overview


This Course will provide an introduction to forensic health care to increase awareness of the need to develop skills and knowledge in this area in order to provide better outcomes for patient's medico-legal needs.

Learning Outcomes

  • Use your understanding of the changing role of healthcare professionals in relation to forensics to enhance physical, psychosocial and legal care of patients
  • Identify signs and symptoms of violence, abuse and/or neglect in order to implement early interventions to reduce adverse outcomes for patients
  • Link best practice guidelines with management strategies in order to provide appropriate support and treatment for patients who may require forensic interventions
  • Use your understanding of forensic terminology and legal processes to improve collection of evidence while still respecting the patient's needs and meeting legal requirements

Topics include:

  • What is forensic health care?
  • How to recognise injury
  • Vulnerable populations
  • Documentation and evidence collection

Target audience

Healthcare professionals working in any clinical setting. Those working with victims of domestic violence, children, older adults, and victims of crime who enter the health care system through emergency departments, may find this Course particularly useful.


Provide healthcare professionals with an understanding of the basic principles in forensic healthcare regarding law, the needs of the justice system, and the signs of violence, abuse and neglect.
An understanding of the principles improves responses to patients by providing appropriate interventions and/or support and treatment, as well as working collaboratively with the forensic team.


Trauma as a result of violent behavior is a health problem across the globe. Emergency departments are increasingly providing care to growing numbers of patients who present as a result of violence. As a result, emergency healthcare professionals specifically, and health care workers generally, may find their role and responsibilities changing to involve the collection and recognition of forensic evidence. However, most health care personnel usually only have a secondary interest in forensic matters due to the primary focus being on the physical and emotional care of the patient. Additionally, there is little education relating to forensic markers of violence, for example, elder abuse, which, along with neglect, has been shown to significantly shorten older victims' lives. "Consistent evidence-based medical definitions are urgently needed to assist health care and social service professionals in detecting, treating, responding to, referring, and better understanding this grave and increasingly important public health problem." There is an increased recognition of holistic patient care, and hence the need for education of healthcare professionals to ensure that they are skilled in meeting the physical and psychosocial needs, as well as the civil and constitutional rights, of their patients. The principles of forensic health are driven by the justice system, and as such it is important for health professionals to have an understanding of the legal aspects of forensic health to complement their clinical knowledge and skills in assessment and care delivery for patients who have additional medico-legal needs through being a victim of crime.

Health professionals in Australia that are registered with AHPRA are required to obtain continuing professional development (CPD) hours/points each year that relates to their context of practice, in order to comply with mandatory regulatory requirements.