Day: August 25, 2020

Intimate Partner ViolenceIntimate Partner Violence

Defined as physical, sexual or psychological harm at the hands of a current or former partner or spouse, intimate partner violence can include repeated injuries and battering, threats of violence, emotional/financial abuse and intimidation, and growing social isolation. It affects both heterosexual and same-sex couples.

The IPV Exam

IPV exams are available to individuals 12 years or older who have been assaulted by an intimate partner within the last 30 days in the District of Columbia.

The exam is provided at no cost and without proof of insurance.

No police report or proof of citizenship is required.

A forensic nurse will:

  • Complete a head-to-toe medical exam, document injuries, and provide referrals
  • Document current and past abuse that could be beneficial in criminal or civil legal proceedings
  • Conduct a medical history
  • Carefully assess for injuries, such as strangulation, using forensic photography and Alternative Light Source (ALS) that identifies barely visible or non-visible injuries

Exams typically take between 1-2 hours but may take longer depending on the injuries present.

The nurse will explain our mandatory reporting requirements. We are not required to report IPV in the District of Columbia unless:

  • Injuries resulted from criminal activities
  • Injuries were inflicted by a firearm
  • The victim is not legally competent or is disabled physically or cognitively
  • The abuser is a caregiver
  • Child was harmed or placed in immediate danger during the assault

DCFNE partners with DC SAFE (Survivors and Advocates for Empowerment) to provide:

  • Safety planning
  • Information on both the criminal and legal processes
  • Assistance in identifying safe housing/shelter
  • Support in obtaining a Temporary Protection Order (TPO)
  • Connect you with other services, including Crime Victim’s Compensation

If you are concerned for your safety, we will alert the onsite security personnel before the exam and conceal your name in the computer system. No visitors are allowed during the exam itself.

If you are considering pressing charges, you may bring items from the crime scene that could potentially be used as evidence. You may bring these items in a paper bag. Evidence will be held for 90 days for unreported crimes and until trial for reported crimes.

To obtain an IPV exam, go to:

MedStar Washington Hospital Center
Emergency Department
Washington, DC 20010

If coming by Metro, exit the Brookline/CUA stop on the RED line. Exit the station to the right and take the H2 (Van Ness) or H4 (Tenley Town) bus to MedStar Washington Hospital Center. Buses leave every 10 minutes.

In an emergency, always call 9-1-1.

If you have any questions, need assistance, or would like to speak with someone, please call the DC Victim Hotline at 1-777-777-7777 or read our Frequently Asked Questions.


Health ProfessionalsHealth Professionals

There is no requirement of a police report, citizenship, residence, or insurance status to receive a medical forensic exam. An interpreter can be provided by phone if needed.

Intimate Partner Violence (IPV) Exam

If you would like to refer a patient within 30 days of an assault, please refer the patient to MedStar Washington Hospital Center’s Emergency Department. If you have any questions, need assistance, or would like to speak with someone, please call the DC Victim Hotline at 1-844-4HELPDC.

IPV exams are conducted 24/7 at

MedStar Washington Hospital Center
Emergency Department
Washington, DC 20010

If it has been more than 30 days, please suggest that the patient go to one of two Domestic Violence Intake Centers (DVIC) in the city. The patient will be able to meet with a DC SAFE advocate, ask questions, and be referred to appropriate services.

Sexual Assault (SANE) Exam

If you want to refer a patient within 96 hours of an assault, please call the DC SANE Provider Hotline at 866-777-777 (Please note: this number is ONLY for healthcare professionals and members of law enforcement.  Victims should call our DC SANE Call Center Hotline at 800-777-7777).

SANE exams are conducted 24/7 at

MedStar Washington Hospital Center
Emergency Department
Washington, DC 20010

If it’s been more than 96 hours, please suggest that the patient call the Network for Victim Recovery of DC at 202-777-7777 during regular business hours (9-5 Monday through Friday). They can connect the patient with a large number of other services.

*Click here for a list of medical facilities in Maryland and Virginia that provide medical forensic exams for victims of sexual assault and intimate partner violence.

If you are interested in becoming a forensic nurse, look through this site to learn more about training options and requirements. 

Forensic NursingForensic Nursing

Clinical Training

DCFNE offers individualized clinical trainings to RNs and student nurses to help individuals develop their clinical forensic skills and learn first hand what it means to become a forensic nurse.

Training Details

Participating in Clinical Training with DCFNE offers Registered Nurses an opportunity to understand the clinical work of a forensic nurse. Participants will be paired one-on-one with trained, DCFNE forensic nurses to observe clinical workflow and patient care. This is opportunity is only for registered nurses who have completed the 40-hour didactic training. 

Participants can expect to: 

  • Understand the elements of the Physical Evidence Recovery Kit (PERK)
  • Gain a basic understanding of forensic photography
  • Recognize the opportunities to use the Alternate Light Source (ALS) and understand the benefits and limitations
  • Learn basic forensic chart documentation
  • Understand the role of the advocate during the exam