If you have experienced a sexual assault, you have options.
Following an Assault
If you've been sexually assaulted within the last five days, you can access a free forensic medical exam. A CARE advocate can accompany you throughout the entire process.
Remember, you're not alone. Call (951) 827-6225 to reach a CARE advocate.
Get Medical Treatment
The choice is yours to seek medical treatment, report sexual assault and/or press formal charges. Our local Sexual Assault Response Teams (SART) can help. Services include:
- A free medical exam for those sexually assaulted within 120 hours (five days) where forensic evidence can be collected for later use if a survivor wishes to pursue a report in the future. You don't need to report to the police to have evidence collected.
- If you think you were exposed to drugs or alcohol when the assault happened, toxicology exams are available within 96 hours from when the assault occurred. Ask your nurse for a toxicology kit. Learn more about alcohol- and drug-facilitated sexual assault.
- Because the exam is free of charge, the hospital won't bill your insurance or your parent/guardian insurance.
- Confidential and formal reporting options can be explored.
Learn more about what to expect at a forensic medical exam.
Preserve Physical Evidence
Preserve all physical evidence of the assault, even if you're unsure you want to report the crime.
- Don't shower, bathe, douche, eat, drink, wash your hands or brush your teeth until after you've had a medical examination.
- Save all clothing that you were wearing at the time of the assault and bring them and any other potential evidence to the medical exam. Place each item of clothing in a separate paper bag. Don't use plastic bags.
- Don't clean or disturb the area where the assault occurred.
- Whether or not you intend to file a police report, you can seek medical attention to receive an exam, emergency contraception (if applicable), and HIV, STI and pregnancy tests.
- Ask for a urine test if you suspect that you’ve been drugged.
Preserve Additional Evidence
A forensic examination is one way to preserve evidence, but it's not the only way.You can easily take some important steps to preserve evidence by:
- Saving all text messages, emails, social media postings (taking screenshots can be helpful) or anything else that might relate to the assault, or that might be helpful later in reconstructing a timeline of events.
- If you've already deleted text messages, you might be able to recover them if it's still within the same billing period; contact your mobile service provider for information.
- Writing down the names of people who might have seen you immediately before or after the assault, as it’s easy to later forget names or locations.
Even if you don't want to participate in the investigative process now, you might change your mind later, so it's helpful to preserve as much information as possible.
Local SART Facilities
Sexual Assault Response Team (SART) is a survivor-sensitive program made up of health care, law enforcement and advocacy professionals that responds to sexual assaults in the community. CARE advocates can accompany you to your medical exam at one of these local facilities: