Importance of Preserving Evidence

Physical evidence is crucial in helping to prosecute assailants in cases of gender-based misconduct. Physical evidence must be collected in a timely manner by a certified medical facility. If the offense occurred within the past 96 hours,the victim should refrain from the following activities (if possible) so that evidence may be preserved:

  • Bathe,
  • Change clothes,
  • Douche,
  • Use the toilet (if possible),
  • Smoke, or
  • Clean the bed/linen/area where they were assaulted

If victims do not opt for forensic evidence collection, health care providers can still treat injuries and take steps to address concerns of pregnancy and/or sexually transmitted infections.

Persons involved with stalking or harassment should have evidence such as:

  • Any letters,
  • Notes,
  • Emails,
  • Phone calls,
  • Videos,
  • Photos,
  • Texts,
  • Social media postings (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter etc),
  • Computer screenshots,
  • Voicemails, or any other form of evidence that may be helpful.

As time passes, evidence may dissipate or become lost or unavailable, thereby making invesigation, possible prosecution, disciplinary proceedings, or obtaining orders of protection related to the incident more difficult.

If a victim chooses not to make a criminal complaint regarding an incident, then the person nevertheless should consider speaking with the University Police Department or other law enforcement agency to preserve evidence in the event that the victim changes their mind at a later date.