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Forensic Nursing and the Law

Physicians for Human Rights

By Nancy Cabelus, DNP, RN – Column Editor
On The Edge – 2011

Physicians for Human Rights (PHR) is an independent organization that uses medical and scientific expertise to investigate  and document human rights violations and to advocate for justice, accountability and the health of all people. Recently, PHR launched a new program on sexual violence in conflict zones. The multi-year program aims to support justice for women and girls in the face of systematic, widespread rapes in the conflict zones of Central and East Africa. PHR is working closely with project partners in Kenya and the Democratic Republic of the Congo to plan for training doctors, nurses, social workers and lawyers on best practices for forensic documentation of sexual violence and using forensic evidence in court cases. PHR forensic consultant and IAFN member Nancy Cabelus met with nurses and doctors at Kenyatta National Hospital to introduce them to the project.

RNs and MDs meet with Nancy Cabelus, forensic
consultant for Physicians for Human Rights at
Kenyatta National Hospital, Nairobi, Kenya
Front row: Forensic nurses Rose Wafubwa, Gertrude
Kanyua, Nancy Cabelus & Elizabeth Muhkisa
Back row: Dr. Edith Onyango, Dr. Muthoni Muttai,
Eunice Ruhi, RN, Rachel Muthoga (Project Coordinator, Physicians for Human Rights) and Dr. Margaret Meme.
Sexual Assault Forensic Examiner Gertrude Kanyua
sporting her IAFN Scientific Assembly bag is embraced by Elizabeth Muhkisa.

Nancy Cabelus is a doctorate prepared forensic nurse with global expertise in sexual and gender based violence. Her nursing background spans nearly three decades of practice, education and consulting. In addition, she has had a law enforcement career with over 22 years of service as a Connecticut State Trooper and senior law enforcement advisor with the United States Department of Justice. Nancy earned her Master’s degree in forensic nursing at Quinnipiac University and Doctor of Nursing Practice at the University of Tennessee Health Sciences Center in Memphis.

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