In the past year, I have engaged widely with different sectors and professionals involved in the management and processing of cases of violence and most importantly, the victims of different assaults. One thing has become very clear, a majority of people have little or no clue about medicolegal matters, medicolegal report writing, and worse, their rights. Everyone assumes these things will never affect them or be needed by them. It will always be someone else who will need a P3 form, or know how to report rape, or how to protect children or God forbid, oneself.
I conducted a medicolegal literacy survey which revealed that over 95% of those who took the survey didn’t fully understand the P3,however over 78% knew where it is issued.
So here goes ..frequently asked questions about the P3 form, the Police Surgery and Police Surgeons answered.
WHAT IS THE P3 form?
A P3 form is a Kenya Police Medical Report Form, used by the Police. Simply put, the P3 form acts as evidence that a violent act occurred and is therefore referred to as an “Exhibit” in court. The P3 form must be handled as evidence at all times.
WHAT IS A POLICE SURGERY?
There is only one Police Surgery in Kenya, based at the old Traffic headquarters, Nairobi Area, Nairobi. This is a clinic where victims of violence are examined and the P3 form filled thereafter. It is NOT where surgeries are done. “Surgery” in this context refers to a somewhat colonial term referring to “clinic” or “check up”.
WHO IS A POLICE SURGEON?
A Police Surgeon is basically a forensic clinician or physician. In Kenya this is a doctor working for the police at the Police Surgery, dealing with the living injured, analyzing and documenting injuries on relevant documents, in this case the P3 form. Police surgeons also collect specimens and assess the mental status of suspects among other duties. Following filling of the forms, these clinicians are then required to give evidence in a court of law as expert witnesses. Every P3 form filled therefore represents a potential court case.
WHO FILLS A P3 FORM?
The P3 form is in 2 parts.
This is filled out by the Police Officer assigned to the case, indicating details of the complainant or suspect in question in a particular case, as well as a brief summary of the allegations.
It is stated clearly that a registered Medical Officer or Medical Practitioner can fill the form. This extends to include Dental and Clinical Officers. In criminal offences, government doctors must be the ones to fill the form.
Part II is divided into 4 sections, Sections A to D. Section A is mandatory for all cases. Filling of Sections B, C, and D depends on the nature of the case.
WHO NEEDS A P3 FORM?
Victims injured in cases of, but not limited to:
- Sexual assault – children and adults
- Domestic violence/Intimate partner violence
- Child abuse and neglect
- Road traffic injurires
- Occupational hazards
- Animal attacks
WHERE DOES ONE GET A P3 FORM?
This form is either:
- issued at the Police Station handling the case, or
- downloaded , printed and filled out at the Police Station where the incident is reported.
The P3 can be downloaded at the National police website’s DOWNLOADS page.
Part I MUST BE FILLED OUT AND A REFERENCE NUMBER INDICATED before Part II can be filled.
WHO CAN ISSUE A P3 FORM?
A Police Officer at the Police station where the incident is reported.
WHAT IS THE PROCESS INVOLVED?
Victims of violence either report to police stations first then the hospital or to hospitals first then the Police Station, usually depending on the degree of injury and/or safety. I recommend visiting a hospital first before Police Stations whenever possible to allow for medical intervention and for findings to be documented. Victims require a Medical Report from the hospital before the P3 can be filled. Sexual assault cases should ensure a Post Rape Care(PRC) form is filled out prior to filling of the P3 form. This PRC form is a ministry of health document found ,filled and stored at medical facilities.
- *For rape cases, a Post Rape Care (PRC) form should be filled. This PRC form is required before filling of the P3 can be done.
HOW MUCH DOES IT COST TO ACQUIRE A P3 FORM OR TO HAVE IT FILLED?
NOTHING!!! ZERO! ZILCH! It is a free service. However, due to occassional lack of resources, one may sometimes be asked to pay for a photocopy and others may have to pay a fee at hospitals to cater for needs that arise following the filling of the P3 form. This remains a controversial issue that is currently being addressed.
WHAT ARE THE OUTCOMES FOLLOWING FILLING OF A P3 FORM?
The outcome depends on the case that brought about the need for the P3 form. In brief,
- If the case is criminal and involving a minor, then the complainant and accused MUST end up in court.
- If adults are involved in say, domestic violence not resulting in death, then the complainant decides whether or not to proceed with a court process.
- If for example 2 adults are involved in a bar fight not resulting in death, then the complainant can decide whether or not to proceed with the case after the P3 form is filled.
- In sexual violence cases involving an ADULT complainant, they decide whether or not to proceed to court.
- In sexual violence cases involving minors, the case MUST proceed to court.
(Many parents report sexual assault thinking that they can extort money from the accused and/or settle the matter out of court, but they are shocked when legal proceedings begin to unfold. This has led many to relocate, thus obstructing justice in the process)
The above information is a very short summary about the P3 form. I hope it has clarified a few areas that caused confusion. For a better understanding of the Police Surgery and P3 click on this VIDEO CLIP.
Please feel free to seek further clarification or contact my team for personalized sessions.