Here to Help: Steps to consider following a sexual assault

First and foremost, find a safe space.

Safety should always be the first priority following an assault.

Consider taking steps to preserve all physical evidence.

Preserving evidence may assist in proving that the alleged criminal offense occurred and/or may be helpful in obtaining a protection order.

  • Do not bathe, shower, brush teeth, douche or otherwise clean the environment in which the assault occurred.

  • Do not remove clothing items worn during or following an assault as they frequently contain valuable fiber, hair and fluid evidence.

  • If you have experienced stalking, you should also preserve evidence of the crime to the best extent possible, such as any electronic communications that have been received.

Get medical attention as soon as possible.

Your health and safety are of the upmost importance and an exam may reveal the presence of physical injury that may not be distinct or initially identifiable.

  • The state of Kansas allows individuals who have experienced sexual assault to preserve evidence with or without reporting to law enforcement. If you choose at the time of your exam not to report to law enforcement, the evidence collected at your exam will be sent to the Kansas Bureau of Investigation and held for five years. A Sexual Assault Forensic Exam, known as SAFE, can be performed at a local or regional medical center.

  • In addition to preserving and documenting evidence, obtaining medical attention might also entail providing prophylaxis, sexually transmitted infection testing and follow-up treatment.

  • Emergency contraception can be provided to women at risk of pregnancy from an assault — if taken within 120 hours.

  • If there is a report of memory loss, loss of consciousness or other circumstances that might indicate a drug-facilitated assault, a urine test may be done within 96 hours. Some of the commonly used drugs, however, are only detectable in the urine for six to eight hours after ingestion.

Next: Reporting options