If You Are the Victim Of A Sexual Assault
If a sexual assault survivor decides to report the assault to law enforcement, it is important to do so as soon as possible - evidence is perishable!
For evidentiary reasons, the survivor should not:
- Shower, bathe, or douche
- Throw away clothing worn
- Brush or comb hair
- Use the restroom
- Brush teeth or gargle
- Put on makeup
- Clean or straighten crime scene
- Eat or drink anything
Sexual Assault Forensic Exam
The survivor should bring a change of clothes to the hospital. Clothing worn during the assault will be collected for evidence. A doctor or nurse will perform an internal examination, either vaginally, anally, or both. Swabs will be taken from the survivor's mouth. Samples of the survivor's hair and pubic hair will be taken. Photographs will be taken of the survivor, including anywhere there are injuries. By law, this information is confidential.
Who pay for the exam?
The cost of any examination relating to the investigation and prosecution of a sexual assault shall be billed to and paid by the investigating law enforcement agency. This includes the cost of gathering evidence and any other examinations authorized by law enforcement. Any costs not covered may be submitted to the state victim services division for determination of eligibility for payment from the crime victims compensation account.
Law Enforcement Interview
The survivor will be asked to describe the assault in detail. More than one interview may be necessary. Law enforcement will need to know everything the survivor can remember about the assault, including:
- Name of assailant(s), if known
- Description of assailant(s)
- What the assailant(s) said
- Sexual activities demanded
- Sexual activities carried out
- Threats or physical force used
- Weapons used
- How consent was denied
The Court Process
If may take months or years for a case to go to trail. The survivor should be prepared to talk about the assault many times before ever having to testify before a trail jury or judge.
The sexual assault forensic exam can be performed at the hospital and the evidence collected turned over to law enforcement anonymously if the survivor is unsure about reporting the assault. This preserves the evidence, in the event the survivor decides to make a report.