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Office of Inclusive Excellence

Importance of Preserving Evidence

It is important to preserve physical evidence  that may include tissue and fluid samples, evidence of violence, sheets, towels, clothing etc. You may choose to avoid washing, bathing, urinating, etc. until after being examined at the hospital, if possible. Because evidence of sexual assault can deteriorate quickly, you may choose to seek a medical exam as soon as possible. Evidence collection should be completed within 120 hours of an assault, but fluids, hair samples, and DNA can be collected for a long time thereafter. Even if you have washed, evidence can often still be obtained.

After 120 hours, it may still be helpful to have medical attention, even if you are not trying to obtain evidence of an assault. Sexual assault nurse examiners (SANE) are trained in the collection of evidence and can assist in the collection of forensic evidence, and can check for injuries and exposures to sexually transmitted diseases.Medical facilities with SANE staff include these facilities.  If you are still wearing clothes worn during the assault, wear them to the hospital and bring a change of clothes with you. If you have already changed clothes, bring the clothes worn during the assault with you in a clean paper bag or wrapped in a clean sheet. Leave any towels and/or sheets at the scene, the police will collect those. Typically, the police will be called to the hospital to take custody of the rape kit, but it is up to you whether you wish to speak with them or file a criminal complaint.

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.

If you would like to speak to someone about this process or you would like support in any of these areas, please contact the Officer of Student Support Services at (937) 775-2727.


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.