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 Office of Student Advocacy and Wellness at 937-775-2727.
Persons involved with stalking or harassment should have evidence such as:
- Any letters,
- Phone calls,
- 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 investigation, 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.
- A Sexual Assault Forensic Examination (SAFE) will preserve evidence in case the student decides to pursue criminal charges and may be done up to 96 hours (4 days) after an assault.
- Don't urinate before going to the hospital. Date rape drugs leave your body quickly. Rohypnol (aka "Roofies") stays in the body for several hours and can be detected in the urine up to 72 hours after taking it. GHB leaves the body in 12 hours. View more information on date rape drugs.
- If a student is sexually assaulted, preserving any available evidence, including the results of SAFE, blood tests for “date rape” drugs, and/or testing urine, allows the student to leave open the option of criminal prosecution in the future without obligating the student to make an immediate decision.
- Some kinds of evidence may only be collected within a short period of time after an assault, delaying action to preserve evidence immediately after an assault may reduce the chances for a successful criminal prosecution in the future.
- While submitting to a SAFE medical exam, and/or other testing may be emotionally traumatic in the immediate aftermath of an assault, some local hospitals have specially trained clinicians, often referred to as SANE, who are experienced in helping survivors through the process.
- The nearest SANE hospital is Indu and Raj Soin Medical Center. View a complete list of SANE hospitals.
- If you are a survivor of sexual assault and receive a sexual assault forensic examination within 96 hours after the assault you will not be charged for the forensic examination conducted at a local emergency department or medications provided to you aiding in prevention of certain sexually transmitted infections that you may have been exposed to during the assault. You may be charged for other medications administered during the course of your treatment or diagnostic testing performed by the emergency room physician if needed. To assist with payment of these expenses you may be eligible to receive funding from the Ohio Crime Victim's Compensation Fund through the Ohio Attorney General's Office.