Sexual Assault Medical Treatment

Sexual Assault Medical Treatment

It is important to seek medical treatment immediately after and as a follow-up to sexual assault to determine the presence of physical injury, sexually transmitted diseases, pregnancy, and to obtain evidence to assist in criminal prosecution. Ideally, physical evidence should be collected immediately, but it should be collected no later than 96 hours following a sexual assault.

Immediate Emergency Services

Within the first 96 hours after an assault, a special exam should be conducted that includes the collection of evidence that may be used in criminal prosecution. This exam is recommended to evaluate your physical condition as well as maintain your legal options. The exam is performed by an emergency department physician. A forensic nurse is present throughout the procedure, and a same-sex friend, family member, and/or advocate also may be present. 

If there is suspicion of use of a drug that would incapacitate you or your alter judgement, the attending physician should be informed during the exam in order to determine the type of drug taken.

Emergency Contraception

For female victims of sexual assault with a risk of pregnancy emergency contraception is available over the counter at most pharmacies and should be taken as soon as possible and within 5 days. Prescription or medically provided emergency contraception is also available and may be a more effective option between 48 and 120 hours following an assault.

Non-emergency Medical Procedures

If the sexual assault occurred in the recent or distant past and an emergency exam was not conducted within the first 96 hours, it is still important to have a medical exam. This exam will include treatment of any physical problems and various lab tests for sexually transmitted diseases and pregnancy. This non-emergency treatment can be arranged by contacting your personal physician. 

Transportation

There are several ways to get to the hospital. An ambulance can always be reached by dialing 911 for Mercer County dispatch and request Medic Rescue ambulance. Taxis and friends are other alternatives. If possible, do not drive to the hospital by yourself. 

Follow-up Care

After the initial examination, it is critical that a victim receive follow-up care. The testing done immediately after an assault or within a few days does not necessarily identify all potential problems. A follow-up examination and testing conducted two weeks after the assault afford the opportunity to find medical problems such as infections that may have gone undetected during the initial exam. Consult with a personal physician and the campus health nurse regarding follow-up exams.