Sexual Assault is considered a violent crime; however, the degree of physical injury varies. Even if you don’t have any obvious physical injuries, it is recommended that you seek medical attention. You may have been exposed to sexually transmitted infections or be at risk for pregnancy.
The choice to have the forensic (evidence collection) exam is yours. Victims do not have to go through the forensic exam, but if there is any chance at all that they may decide to press charges, they need to have the evidence collected ASAP.
A hospital cannot refuse to treat sexual assault victims if they decline to report to law enforcement. Having physical evidence collected DOES NOT obligate victims to press charges, but it does help to keep their options open.
Physical evidence can be collected through a forensic exam within 96 hours, or 4 days, of the assault. If the assault happened more than 96 hours ago or you choose not to go to the hospital, call the YWCA HOPE Center Rape Crisis Hotline at 419-241-7273 or toll free at 866-557-7273.
If you choose to go to the hospital, a YWCA HOPE Center Rape Crisis Advocate can be there to offer you help and support through the process. The hospital should call an advocate out or you can request one upon arrival at the hospital.
Do not change your clothes, bathe, douche, or brush your teeth, because valuable evidence may be lost. If you must change your clothes, bring them with you in a paper bag (plastic should not be used for evidence purposes.)The physical evidence on the victim’s body and clothing will be collected at the hospital. Medications should also be offered to prevent sexually transmitted infections and/or pregnancy. The police will be notified of the assault. However, it is up to you to make a police report. Remember, reporting is different from prosecuting, and the decision to pursue charges can be made at a later time.
HIV testing should be completed at an anonymous testing site. Call the YWCA HOPE Center Rape Crisis Hotline at 419-241-7273 for referrals.
There is NO COST to the victim for a forensic exam. However, if there are additional medical concerns or tests they are the responsibility of the victim. Contact the YWCA HOPE Center Rape Crisis if you receive any medical bills related to your emergency room visit.