I was sexually assaulted… What do I do?

    • If you are in immediate danger, call 911.
    • Call the Dove House 24 Hour Crisis Line: (360)-385-5291
    • Their advocates can support you.
    • Go to the hospital for medical care and/or a sexual assault exam.

What is a rape kit?

This term is often used to describe a sexual assault forensic exam. The kit is a box with swabs and envelopes for collecting DNA evidence during a sexual assault exam. The evidence may be used in court to help convict the offender.

What is a sexual assault forensic exam?

    • Best if done within 5 days of the assault.
    • Totally optional. You can stop, pause or skip any step.
    • Immediate care. If you have injuries, they will be taken care of first.
    • You will be asked about your health and about what happened during the assault. This will help the nurse and doctor give you the best care.
    • Head-to-toe examination and evidence collection. With your permission, the nurse will look for injuries and swab areas of your body for DNA. If you agree, photos of injuries may be taken as evidence.
    • Medicine to prevent pregnancy and infections. You may be offered medicine to prevent common infections that you may have been exposed to during the assault. You may also be offered medicine to prevent pregnancy from the assault.

Who completes the exam?

    • A nurse who has received special training. These nurses are called Sexual Assault Nurse Examiners (SANEs).

Where do I go to have a sexual assault forensic exam?

    • If you are 13 or older:
      • Port Townsend: Jefferson Healthcare Emergency Department
      • Bremerton: Harrison Medical Center
      • Port Angeles: Olympic Medical Center
    • If you or your loved one is 12 or younger:
      • Dove House and/or Jefferson Healthcare can help organize an exam for patients younger than 12. The options are:
        • Bremerton: Harrison Medical Center
        • Tacoma: Mary Bridge Medical Center
        • Seattle: Seattle Children’s Hospital or Harborview Medical Center

How long is the exam?

    • The exam takes about 1-3 hours.
    • You can expect to be at the hospital for at least 3 hours.

How to prepare for a sexual assault forensic exam

    • Bring in the clothes worn during the assault including underwear.
    • If you are no longer wearing them, bring clothes from the assault in paper bags.
    • Bring in a change of clothes (clothes worn during the assault will be kept for evidence).
    • If you do not have a change of clothes, you will be given new clothes to wear home.
    • Try to AVOID these activities that could damage evidence:
    • Bathing/showering
    • Brushing teeth
    • Using the restroom
    • Changing clothes
    • Combing hair
    • Cleaning up areas on your body or clothes that were touched

Do you have to file a police report to have a sexual assault forensic exam?

No. In most cases, you do not have to file a police report to have evidence collected or to receive medical care.  However, if you are a minor or a vulnerable adult, a police report may be required.

Why should you consider having a sexual assault forensic exam?

It is free. You should not be charged for the exam or medicines.

You can take your time to decide if you want to report. The decision to report the assault to police is entirely yours. It may take some time to decide what to do. Having a sexual assault exam right away ensures that evidence will be safely kept in case you decide to report to police in the future.

It increases the likelihood of prosecution. Not only does DNA evidence carry weight in court, it may also prevent future sexual assaults. Even if the person who assaulted you is not prosecuted, their DNA may be added to the national database. This can make it easier to connect them to any future crimes they commit.

Your health matters. Sexual assault can affect your physical and mental health. You may have injuries and trauma related to the assault that aren’t immediately visible. The medical team can help.

If you have non-urgent questions about forensic exams at Jefferson Healthcare, please call our confidential voicemail at (360)-344-0410 and a nurse will return your call within 24 business hours.

If you need a sexual assault forensic exam, please go to the Jefferson Healthcare Emergency Department.

Katie-Rose Fischer-Price, RN, BSN, Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner (SANE) Program Coordinator
kfischerprice@jeffersonhealthcare.org

 

Read more about SANE Services at Jefferson Healthcare