Faculty of Forensic and Legal Medicine (FFLM) guidance

FFLM develops and maintains high standards of competence and professional integrity in forensic and legal medicine. Here are summaries of reports produced by FFLM, relevant to child protection and safeguarding guidance.

Downloadable files are available below

Guidelines on the urgency of CSA examinations

Developed in partnership with RCPCH (2019), these flowcharts support forensic physicians and paediatricians to decide when to examine a pre- or post-pubertal child in cases of suspected sexual offences. They are intended to help the decision making process when deciding if a forensic examination is warranted between the hours of midnight and 07:00, or can wait and be done during the day. 

Consent from children and young people in police custody in England and Wales for medical examinations

Published in partnership with RCPCH (2018), this outlines the legal position of children and young people in custody under the age of 18 years with relation to their consent to, and refusal of, treatment and examination. 

The role of the clinical director in the Sexual Assault Referral Centre

Published in partnership with RCPCH (2017), this outlines the role of a clinical director in sexual assault referral centres (SARCs). The clinical director should support a SARC's approach to clinical governance - the structures and processes through which it, and its staff, will develop and foster the culture needed to provide and improve quality care.

Guidelines on paediatric forensic examinations

Published in partnership with RCPCH (2012), this document describes elements of good practice for those who conduct assessments of children who may have been sexually abused. Guidance is provided on:

  •  who should conduct a paediatric forensic examination (including necessary skills required and number of necessary examiners)
  • requirement of photo-documentation
  • support for the child or carers (including local pathways and on-going care)
  • note taking and producing statements/reports.

Child Sexual Abuse (CSA) forensic medical examinations

Developed in partnership with RCPCH (2017), this document provides interim guidance regarding the numbers of examinations. Forensic medical examinations are 'highly specialised, low volume' work, whereby it may not be possible for all doctors to undertake the recommended number of examinations to retain their competence. This guidance acknowledges the need for flexibility in examinations numbers, provided doctors ensure they obtain relevant qualifications to retain necessary skills.

Guidance for best practice for the management of intimate images

Originally produced in partnership with RCPCH and the Association of Chief Police Officers in 2014 then reviewed in 2020, this document creates an agreed practice and disclosure framework for using images obtained during forensic medical examination of complainants of sexual violence or abuse as evidence in court.

The guidance aims to ensure respect for the subjects of intimate images and to eliminate the risk of improper distribution of images.

Recommendations for the collection of forensic specimens from complainants and suspects

FFLM biannually produces recommendations for the collection of forensic specimens from complainants and suspects. The guidance outlines areas to consider for collecting evidence, providing reasoning for analysis, information on sampling methods and instructions for packaging and storage of evidence.

Quality standards for undertaking Paediatric Sexual Offence Medicine (PSOM)

This document (2014) outline requirements for trainees and doctors in Paediatric Sexual Offence Medicine (PSOM) to ensure they acquire the relevant knowledge, skills and attitude to provide safe care for child complainants of alleged sexual abuse / assault.