Sexual Assault Examination

What To Expect in a Sexual Assault Examination: Irvine Sexual Assault Attorney Explains

Sexual assault is an extremely traumatic event, and you may be unsure what to do next. It’s natural to want to step into the shower or change your clothes, but you may want to postpone that. Your body and clothing could hold important evidence.

A sexual assault forensic exam (a.k.a. a “rape kit”) is a critical step toward preserving DNA samples. If you decide to report the event, evidence collected during the forensic exam can help convict the perpetrator. 

Where and When Should You Go for a Sexual Assault Exam?

The National Sexual Assault Hotline can let you know which medical facilities in your area perform sexual assault exams. Generally, the sooner you go in for an exam, the easier it will be to collect relevant evidence such as DNA samples. 

If you can, avoid showering, bathing, combing your hair, or changing your clothes before the exam, as this could degrade evidence. If you must change your clothing, place the clothes you wore during the assault into a plastic bag, seal the bag and bring it along.

It may be helpful to have a trusted person with you during the exam who can support you and act as a witness if you choose to report the assault. 

What Happens During a Sexual Assault Exam?

The person who performs the exam will be a registered nurse or another healthcare professional with special training. You’ll receive treatment for any physical injuries first, after which the examiner will probably ask about your medical history, any pre-existing conditions, and any prescription meds you take. They will also ask you to describe the event and identify body areas that may hold evidence.

The sexual assault exam may also include a full-body examination, taking blood and urine samples, and body surface swabs. The professional performing the exam will identify evidence, like stray hair that may belong to the perpetrator, and collect it for analysis. 

The healthcare professional will also offer you follow-up care, such as preventive treatment for STIs and emergency contraception.

Do You Have To Report the Assault If You Take the Post-Assault Examination?

Generally, reporting the crime to law enforcement is your choice. You can collect evidence through the sexual assault examination even if you haven’t decided you’re going to report the assault yet. However, if you’re under 18, the examiner may have a legal obligation to report the incident.

Your Next Steps: When Should You Call a Sexual Assault Lawyer in Irvine, CA?

Once you’ve completed the sexual assault exam, you may choose to report the assault to the police. A state prosecutor may then decide to file criminal charges against the perpetrator. You can also contact an Irvine sexual assault attorney and file a lawsuit against the offender.

A sexual assault/sexual harassment lawyer in Irvine can help you claim compensation through a civil court. It won’t erase your experience, but it can empower you and give you a sense of justice. Note that even if the abuse happened when you were a minor and you didn’t preserve DNA evidence, a competent Irvine child abuse attorney could still help prove your case in some situations.

Call The Cifarelli Law Firm To Consult a Sexual Assault Attorney in Irvine, CA

If you suffered sexual assault, seek Irvine abuse legal counsel today. Our hardworking and empathetic Irvine abuse attorneys are here to help you hold the perpetrator accountable. Our legal team can gather and present evidence, build a compelling case and fight for justice on your behalf. 

Call 949-409-6324 for a free and confidential consultation with an Irvine sexual assault attorney. 

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