A sexual assault forensic exam may be helpful in collecting DNA evidence of a crime, as well as offering the victim necessary medical care. In this article, we’ll define the term “sexual assault forensic exam.”
A sexual assault forensic exam (SAFE), sometimes referred to colloquially as a rape kit, is a medical forensic exam that aims to preserve evidence of a sexual assault. It includes a physical exam, genital exam, and collection of samples and swabs.
Sexual assault forensic exams are performed by trained sexual assault nurse examiners, sexual assault forensic examiners, or sexual assault examiners, all medical professionals who have been trained to perform the examination.
In addition to performing the exam, these healthcare professionals are also able to provide immediate medical care by treating any injuries the victim may have. They also offer information and answer questions about pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections.
Victims have the right to decline any portion of a sexual assault forensic exam.
It is important for victims to avoid doing anything that could potentially damage evidence in the interval between the sexual assault and the sexual assault forensic exam. This includes activities such as:
However, if the victim has done one or more of these activities, it is still possible to have a sexual assault forensic exam performed.
Generally, DNA evidence must be collected within 72 hours of the sexual assault. However, there are other forms of evidence that may be found during a sexual assault forensic exam performed after the 72-hour window.
The steps of a sexual assault forensic exam include:
Note that each step of the sexual assault forensic exam is optional and the victim may opt out at any time.
DNA evidence found during a sexual assault forensic exam can be pivotal in winning a sexual assault lawsuit. Even if the perpetrator is not prosecuted, this DNA can be added to a national database in order to make it easier to investigate a potential future crime.
If you have experienced a sexual assault, it is important to contact the authorities as soon as possible in order to receive a sexual assault forensic exam within the 72-hour window.
Additionally, you have the option of filing a civil lawsuit in order to recover compensation for both monetary (medical bills, time lost from work) and non-monetary damages (pain and suffering). Contact a sexual assault lawyer for a free review of your case.