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AREV project team pilots an Abuse and Body Map for healthcare professionals

As part of the Advancing Rights of Estonian Victims (AREV) project, VSE works in close collaboration with Estonia’s Ministry of Justice and other stakeholders to enhance the way in which victims are informed, protected, supported, and referred. The project aims to enhance stakeholders´ understanding and awareness of victims´ needs and improve the quality of local support services.

The healthcare sector is an important project partner as hospitals are often the first point of contact for victims of crime. To help promote a more victim-centric approach, Ida-Viru Central Hospital, together with Narva and Rakvere hospitals, will be piloting an Abuse and Body Map which has been adapted from the PAKE Abuse and Body Map form used in several hospitals across Finland.

The tool is used primarily to map, describe and document injuries. If a healthcare professional suspects or hears that a patient has experienced abuse, they will complete an Abuse and Body map, on which they chart the injuries, document the patient´s version of events , ascertain what happened, assess the patient’s mental state, and capture any other relevant details. After providing medical care and completing the Abuse and Body Map, the healthcare professional is encouraged to tell the victim about available support services or to establish initial contact between the individual and the service provider.

Using this tool, healthcare providers can offer comprehensive support to individuals who may not see themselves as victims, thus proactively identifying instances of victimisation. The Abuse and Body Map also helps to prevent both short- and long-term health issues caused by violence, abuse, and damaging childhood experiences. The information gathered provides a basis for treatment.

The AREV project team has held training events at each of the participating hospitals. The sessions brought together not only representatives from the hospitals, but also those from the police, the Prosecutor´s Office, and Victim Support. Previous training sessions, delivered by medical doctors, focused on trauma-informed care within the healthcare sector.

The largest healthcare facility in the Viru region, Ida-Viru Central Hospital, began piloting the programme on 12 January 2023; Narva and Rakvere hospitals are expected to begin their programme before the end of January. The programme is expected to last approximately three months. To further support the healthcare sector, the project team has developed guidelines for the Abuse and Body Map, as well as information materials giving relevant contact details for support service providers in the region.

To learn more about the AREV project, please visit the dedicated webpage.

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