Medical Attention and Sexual Assault Exams
LET’S BE CLEAR….
Medical Help is Confidential Help
If you are experiencing a medical emergency, please call 911.
It is important to seek medical care as soon as possible after incidents of relationship violence and sexual assault not only to address physical injuries, but also, to begin coping with the complex emotional issues surrounding these types of incidents. In times of emotional stress, people tend to minimize their own feelings out of self-protection or consideration for the feelings of people they love. Although you may feel fine physically, your body may be numbed by a state of shock, so it’s important to seek medical care as soon as possible. You may need treatment even if there are no visible signs of physical injury. If you choose to have evidence collected, the sooner this is done, the more reliable and potentially useful the evidence will be. A sexual assault exam and evidence collection can be conducted up to 120 hours (five days) after the assault.
It is important to seek medical care after a sexual assault in order to:
- be examined and treated for any injuries;
- be treated for exposure to sexually transmitted infections;
- be offered emergency contraception;
- collect physical and biological evidence should you decide to report the assault to the police for possible prosecution of the offender.
Who Makes Decisions Regarding My Care and Treatment?
Consent & Rights:
- You must be awake and oriented, and able to participate in your care in order to consent to have a sexual assault exam.
- Healthcare providers should not conduct a sexual assault exam or collect physical evidence without your permission.
- You do not have to report to law enforcement in order to have a sexual assault exam conducted and evidence collected, or to have the state pay for it.
- Once you consent to the non-reporting sexual assault exam, there is no time limit for you to decide if or when you wish to report to the police.
- You have the right to have a certified sexual assault counselor/advocate person present during the sexual assault exam, if you choose. Their services are confidential and free of charge.
- You have the right to decline any part of the examination or treatment and the right to ask any questions you may have. You also have the right to withdraw your consent at any time.
- You have the right to culturally sensitive care in a timely manner, without judgment or bias.
What will happen during a Sexual Assault Exam?
Basic components of a sexual assault exam include:
- History: consists of a narrative and questions related to the assault, as well as past and present medical history. It is intended to help identify injuries related to the assault and guide evidence collection.
- Physical Assessment: the purpose is to identify injuries and document physical findings.
- Evidence Collection: the CT100 State of Florida Sexual Assault Evidence Collection kit is the standardized sexual assault kit used by all Sexual Assault Nurse Examiners (SANE) in Florida. This process includes 13 steps and the exam is conducted in a sensitive and respectful manner. Any step in the exam can be declined. The CT400 Toxicology Screen Evidence Collection kit is the standardized kit used in all CT hospitals where drugs or alcohol are suspected to have been used to facilitate a sexual assault. Both the CT100 and CT400 require consent.
- The evidence collection kit includes retrieving a variety of samples including debris (soil, fibers, grass, etc.), blood, hair, urine, and genital swabs.
- Sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and pregnancy risk evaluation and preventive care: medications are given to prevent STIs and emergency contraception is offered to prevent pregnancy.
- Discharge, follow-up and referrals: instructions are given regarding follow-up care for medical and counseling purposes.
The sexual assault exam takes an average of 3-4 hours. This may be less or more, depending on the circumstances and extent of needed care.
Sexual Assault Exams on the UCF Main Campus
Sexual Assault Exams are currently unavailable at UCF Health Services
If you have delayed disclosure beyond the 120 hours, or you have decided that you will never file a police report, you can obtain a well-being exam at the UCF Health Center. Please discuss this with your UCF Victim Advocate as there are specific requirements for this option.
- If you have been the victim of a sexual assault or have any questions about services or referrals, confidential advocacy is available to you any time of day or night through:
- UCF Victim Services
- Hotline: 407-823-1200 (24/7)
- Sexual Assault Treatment Center
- Hotline: 407-497-6701
- UCF Victim Services
Follow-Up and Referral
Follow-up care for medical and counseling purposes is important.
You may be seen by your private physician or, as a UCF student, follow-up care can be provided at UCF Health Services. It’s best if you call as soon as possible to make a follow-up appointment. UCF students also may receive follow-up care through UCF Counseling and Psychological Services.
Where Should I Go?
UCF Campus: Students, Faculty or Staff in Orange County may seek treatment from the University’s Health Services. Health Services can assist with arranging for a sexual assault exam by contacting a UCF Victim Advocate on your behalf who will discuss all of your options and can transport you to the local Sexual Assault Treatment Center (SATC) for a reporting or non-reporting forensic exam.
Hospital Emergency Departments do not offer sexual assault exams in Orange, Seminole or Osceola Counties unless there are other serious injuries that will require immediate medical intervention and a potential stay at the hospital.
The Sexual Assault Treatment Center: The Sexual Assault Treatment Center (SATC) provides 24/7 access to specially trained SANE nurses who provide compassionate and culturally sensitive care to adult and adolescent victims of sexual assault. Sexual Assault Nurse Examiners, called SANEs, conduct sexual assault exams (also called medical-forensic exams) to identify injuries, collect and document physical evidence using a standardized evidence collection kit including assessment and evidence collection in suspected drug-facilitated sexual assaults. They also conduct risk evaluation for sexually transmitted infections and pregnancy, and ensure the provision of preventive medications and emergency contraception. Additionally, SANEs provide resources and referrals for follow-up at discharge. SANEs are trained in courtroom testimony.
A sexual assault exam and evidence collection can be conducted up to 120 hours (five days) after the assault.
- If seeking treatment directly after the assault, please do not:
- Change clothes (bring, or have someone bring, a change of clothes)
- Shower or bathe
- Wash or wipe
- Brush your teeth
- If you must use the bathroom, do no wipe, only dab.
Taking these precautions before the sexual assault exam allows you to keep your legal options open as long as possible. These activities can destroy evidence.
- If seeking treatment and it is not directly after the assault:
- Place the clothes you wore at the time of the incident in a clean paper bag (not plastic). Bring them with you to the forensic exam. Let your SANE nurse know you have them, and tell them if you have done anything else (washed, etc.) before you arrived. Bring a change of clothes with you to include underwear in the event they will retain your clothing for evidence purposes. If you do not have time to obtain clothing, new, basic clothing, will be available at the SATC if needed.