Reporting Is Optional
If you consent to an interview with a police officer, the police will usually conduct a preliminary interview with you and transfer the evidence from the health care facility to the Connecticut Forensic Lab. The interview can be conducted in a private area and can also be conducted at a later time and location if you prefer. You have the control, and you may choose to report the incident and speak to the police as part of the exam. You do not have to talk to the police or anyone else until you are ready.
If you decide to have the kit collected, you have the option to remain anonymous. A police officer will collect the kit after you have left the hospital. The kit is sealed and properly stored at the Connecticut Forensic Lab. Your evidence can be stored anonymously until you decide whether to report (up to five years as of October 1, 2015). A control number is assigned instead of your name to protect your identity.
You Do Not Have To Be Alone
Whether it is for a sexual assault forensic exam or to report to the police, you can have a sexual assault crisis counselor with you free of charge. Advocates are available 24/7 and offer free and confidential accompaniments. If you feel comfortable, you could also bring someone you trust. When deciding who to bring, ask that person whether they can honor your privacy or if there are limits to the confidentiality they can offer; sometimes RAs or university staff members have reporting requirements
Try Not To Shower
For a Sexual Assault Forensic Exam, try not to shower, bathe, douche, wash your hands, brush your teeth, comb your hair, use a toilet, eat/drink, smoke, chew gum, or change your clothes. This may be difficult, but it you do any of the above you may destroy evidence that will be needed if you decide to report the crime to police. You have up to 120 hours from the sexual assault to have a kit collected. Even if you have done one or more of the above (such as a shower or eat) evidence can still be collected within 120 hours.
Bring a Change of Clothes
In preparation for a Sexual Assault Forensic Exam, for you own comfort, and to preserve evidence, bring a change of clean clothes and a paper bag filled with items involved in the incident. This ensures that you have something to wear following the completion of your kit.
Victim Assistance-Office of Victim Services
If you or a child were sexually assaulted and you had a sexual assault medical examination and evidence collection or disclosed the sexual assault counselor; pursuant to 54-209 you can apply for compensation with the Office of Victim Services for medical and mental health expenses and lost wages resulting from the crime. For information, forms, and assistance completing the application, call the Office of Victim Services at 1-888-286-7347 or www.jud.ct.gov
Supporting Victims and Survivors
If your friend has experienced sexual assault, here are ways to support them:
- Believe them
- Help them explore their options
- Listen to them
- Never blame them for being assaulted
- Ask before you touch
- Recognize you've been hurt too and get help for yourself
Learn more about these tips with this information sheet from Men Can Stop Rape.
Learn more about safely intervening before a potential assault with these tips from Men Can Stop Rape.