Getting Medical Care After a Sexual Assault

What are my medical care choices?

  • General medical care (without a Sexual Assault Rape Kit)
  • Medical care (without a Sexual Assault Rape Kit) AND report crime to the police
  • Medical care (with a Sexual Assault Rape Kit) AND report crime to the police

Note:  A Sexual Assault Rape Kit (SAK) is usually done by a Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner (SANE).  You don't have to decide which choice you want before you go to a hospital.   Staff at the hospital can help with some of your decision making.

What does General Medical care offer?

  • A physical exam to determine any injuries
  • Test for Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs)
  • Medication to prevent HIV and other STIs
  • Emergency contraception to prevent pregnancy
  • Toxicology testing is only done as part of a forensic exam. If you think you were drugged… TELL your doctor.

If you need medical care for a child, please see Sexual Assault of a Child.

What does a Sexual Assault Rape Kit entail?

Not all hospitals provide Sexual Assault Rape kits (SAK).   If you are interested in evidence collection, as well as medical care, you must go to a hospital with trained Sexual Assault Nurse Examiners (SANE).  

  • You don’t have to immediately make a police report to get a SANE exam
  • A SANE exam preserves evidence while you decide whether to report to police
  • SANE exams are free
  • You may bring a friend or family member with you
  • Evidence is best when collected within 120 hours (five days) of the assault

Preserving Evidence

  • As much as you can, preserve all physical evidence of the assault.  
  • It is best not to shower, bathe, douche, eat, drink, wash your hands, or brush your teeth before you have a medical evaluation.
  • Saving the clothing you were wearing at the time of the assault may provide additional evidence.   Do not wash, if possible.
  • Even if you have already taken a shower or cleaned up, it does not mean that you cannot have a forensic exam.  

What if I think I was drugged?

  • Get a forensic exam as soon as possible.   Drugs leave the body VERY quickly (often within the first few urine samples).
  • Ask the hospital or clinic where you receive medical care to take a urine and possibly a blood sample for drug toxicology testing by your law enforcement agency's crime lab.
  • Drugs such as Rohypnol and GHB are more likely to be found in urine than in blood, but sometimes blood is tested as well. Special tests must be conducted to detect these drugs.
  • Save any other materials that might contain evidence of the drug(s) you may have been given, such as the glass that held your drink.