Strengthening Health System Responses to Gender-based Violence in Eastern Europe and Central Asia

A resource package

7. Documentation of gender-based Violence

7.1        Outline of the module

Duration of the module

1 hour

Aim of the module

  • To explain why is it necessary to document GBV.
  • To provide participants with an overview of the different steps involved in
  1. recording and classifying injuries,
  2. documenting GBV,
  3. providing medico-legal services (undertaking a forensic examination, providing evidence in court), and
  4. storing patient data.

Key learning messages

  • Documentation of GBV is necessary from the perspective of the health care provider, the patient, and good clinical care.
  • Health care professionals should carefully describe any injuries assessed, including the type, number and location of injuries, using a body map.
  • Interpretation of injuries for medico-legal purposes should be done by trained forensic specialists.
  • Mechanisms for documentation include hand-written notes, diagrams, body maps and photographs. Photographs may supplement, but should not replace other forms of documentation.
  • Where a criminal offence has been committed, forensic specimens should be collected carefully and as early as possible.
  • Patient records and information should be stored strictly confidentially and at a safe place.

Background readings for trainer

UNFPA-WAVE Resource Package, Part I, chapter 3.3

Further reading:

WHO 2003


  • Presentation by trainer (PPT slides 1-11, distribution of handouts 26-28, Annex 8)
  • Presentation by trainer (PPT slides 12-18)

Notes for trainers

When distributing the checklist for documentation of GBV on handout 26 and the templates on handouts 27-28, you may want to facilitate an exchange in the group to discuss participants’ work practice. Possible questions for discussion include: Do you find the checklist useful for your work? Do you use similar documentation forms in your daily work? Are there any challenges in the documentation of GBV that you have experienced? How could they be overcome?

Materials for training session

Presentation: PowerPointpresentation Module 7 ( download it at the bottom of the page)


Handout 26: Checklist for documenting cases of gender-based violence

Handout 27: Check-list for using photography to document gender-based violence

Handout 28: Documentation form for cases of gender-based violence – example from Austria

Annex 8: WHO sexual violence documentation form