Forensic Medical Exam and SANEs

Forensic Medical Exam

It is your decision if you choose to have a sexual assault forensic exam. Also known as a “rape kit,” the exam preserves possible DNA evidence and provides you the opportunity to receive important medical care. The term rape kit refers to the kit which includes a checklist, materials, and instructions, along with envelopes and containers to package any specimens collected during the exam. A rape kit may also be referred to as a Sexual Assault Evidence Kit (SAEK).

You don’t have to report the crime to have an exam, but the process gives you the chance to safely store evidence should you decide to report later.

Close up of a stethoscope pen and medical exam papers

Preparation

To prepare for the sexual assault forensic exam, if possible, avoid activities that could impact evidence collection.

Examples include:

Cleaning up the area

Combing hair

Changing clothes

Bathing

Showering

Using the restroom

Please know, if you have done any of these activities, you can still have an exam performed. You may want to bring a spare change of clothes with you to the hospital or health facility where you’re going to have the exam.

Typically, DNA evidence needs to be collected within 72 hours in order to be analyzed by a crime lab — but a sexual assault forensic exam can reveal other forms of evidence beyond this time frame that can be useful if you decide to report. If you have questions about the timeframe, you can call the National Sexual Assault Hotline at 800.656.HOPE (4673) or access this link to find the nearest Rape Crisis Center. An advocate can answer your questions and connect you to the closest facility providing sexual assault medical exams.

Subscribe For Updates