Forensic medicine in South Africa: associations between medical practice and legal case progression and outcomes in female murders

 

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dc.contributor.author Abrahams, Naeemah en_ZA
dc.contributor.author Jewkes, Rachel en_ZA
dc.contributor.author Martin, Lorna J en_ZA
dc.contributor.author Mathews, Shanaaz en_ZA
dc.date.accessioned 2015-11-11T14:26:08Z
dc.date.available 2015-11-11T14:26:08Z
dc.date.issued 2011 en_ZA
dc.identifier.citation Abrahams, N., Jewkes, R., Martin, L. J., & Mathews, S. (2011). Forensic medicine in South Africa: associations between medical practice and legal case progression and outcomes in female murders. PloS one, 6(12). doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0028620 en_ZA
dc.identifier.uri http://hdl.handle.net/11427/14916
dc.identifier.uri http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0028620
dc.description.abstract BACKGROUND: Forensic medicine has been largely by-passed by the tide of health systems research and evidence based medicine. Murder victims form a central part of forensic medical examiners' case load, and women murdered by intimate partners are an important subgroup, representing the most severe form and consequence of intimate partner violence. Our aim was to describe the epidemiology of female murder in South Africa (by intimate and non-intimate partners); and to describe and compare autopsy findings, forensic medical management of cases and the contribution of these to legal outcomes. METHODS: We did a retrospective national study in a proportionate random sample of 25 medico-legal laboratories to identify all homicides in 1999 of women aged 14 years and over. Data were abstracted from the mortuary file and autopsy report, and collected from a police interview. FINDINGS: In 21.5% of cases the perpetrator was convicted. Factors associated with a conviction for the female murders included having a history of intimate partner violence 1.18 (95%CI: 0.16-2.20), weapon recovered 1.36 (95% CI:0.58-2.15) and a detective visiting the crime scene 1.57 (95% CI:0.14-3.00). None of the forensic medical activities increased the likelihood of a conviction. CONCLUSION: The findings raise important questions about the role of forensic medicine in these cases. en_ZA
dc.language.iso eng en_ZA
dc.publisher Public Library of Science en_ZA
dc.rights This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited. en_ZA
dc.rights.uri http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0 en_ZA
dc.source PLoS One en_ZA
dc.source.uri http://journals.plos.org/plosone en_ZA
dc.subject.other Forensic pathology en_ZA
dc.subject.other Autopsy en_ZA
dc.subject.other Violent crime en_ZA
dc.subject.other Intimate partner violence en_ZA
dc.title Forensic medicine in South Africa: associations between medical practice and legal case progression and outcomes in female murders en_ZA
dc.type Journal Article en_ZA
dc.rights.holder © 2011 Abrahams et al en_ZA
uct.type.publication Research en_ZA
uct.type.resource Article en_ZA
dc.publisher.institution University of Cape Town
dc.publisher.faculty Faculty of Health Sciences en_ZA
dc.publisher.department Division of Forensic Medicine and Toxicology en_ZA
uct.type.filetype Text
uct.type.filetype Image
dc.identifier.apacitation Abrahams, N., Jewkes, R., Martin, L. J., & Mathews, S. (2011). Forensic medicine in South Africa: associations between medical practice and legal case progression and outcomes in female murders. <i>PLoS One</i>, http://hdl.handle.net/11427/14916 en_ZA
dc.identifier.chicagocitation Abrahams, Naeemah, Rachel Jewkes, Lorna J Martin, and Shanaaz Mathews "Forensic medicine in South Africa: associations between medical practice and legal case progression and outcomes in female murders." <i>PLoS One</i> (2011) http://hdl.handle.net/11427/14916 en_ZA
dc.identifier.vancouvercitation Abrahams N, Jewkes R, Martin LJ, Mathews S. Forensic medicine in South Africa: associations between medical practice and legal case progression and outcomes in female murders. PLoS One. 2011; http://hdl.handle.net/11427/14916. en_ZA
dc.identifier.ris TY - Journal Article AU - Abrahams, Naeemah AU - Jewkes, Rachel AU - Martin, Lorna J AU - Mathews, Shanaaz AB - BACKGROUND: Forensic medicine has been largely by-passed by the tide of health systems research and evidence based medicine. Murder victims form a central part of forensic medical examiners' case load, and women murdered by intimate partners are an important subgroup, representing the most severe form and consequence of intimate partner violence. Our aim was to describe the epidemiology of female murder in South Africa (by intimate and non-intimate partners); and to describe and compare autopsy findings, forensic medical management of cases and the contribution of these to legal outcomes. METHODS: We did a retrospective national study in a proportionate random sample of 25 medico-legal laboratories to identify all homicides in 1999 of women aged 14 years and over. Data were abstracted from the mortuary file and autopsy report, and collected from a police interview. FINDINGS: In 21.5% of cases the perpetrator was convicted. Factors associated with a conviction for the female murders included having a history of intimate partner violence 1.18 (95%CI: 0.16-2.20), weapon recovered 1.36 (95% CI:0.58-2.15) and a detective visiting the crime scene 1.57 (95% CI:0.14-3.00). None of the forensic medical activities increased the likelihood of a conviction. CONCLUSION: The findings raise important questions about the role of forensic medicine in these cases. DA - 2011 DB - OpenUCT DO - 10.1371/journal.pone.0028620 DP - University of Cape Town J1 - PLoS One LK - https://open.uct.ac.za PB - University of Cape Town PY - 2011 T1 - Forensic medicine in South Africa: associations between medical practice and legal case progression and outcomes in female murders TI - Forensic medicine in South Africa: associations between medical practice and legal case progression and outcomes in female murders UR - http://hdl.handle.net/11427/14916 ER - en_ZA


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This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited. Except where otherwise noted, this item's license is described as This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.