Within 72 hours: Seek immediate medical attention. Receiving medical attention immediately after an assault gives survivors the most options for protecting her/his health and gathering information if she/he/ze decides to pursue legal charges. Medical attention helps determine if the survivor is physically injured, needs care for sexually transmitted infections or possible pregnancy. Receiving medical attention does NOT require survivors to report the assault to the police, or follow through with the charges if she/he chooses to report. Jessica Clark, Coordinator for Violence Response can accompany you to the hospital at any time. For accompaniment and support call SAFEline at 336-278-3333.
Hospital personnel are prepared to conduct a standardized medical exam known as a "rape protocol exam." This exam collects relevant evidence and records important observations. IMPORTANT: To collect the best evidence the survivor must not shower, change clothes or use the bathroom before receiving the rape protocol exam. If the survivor must change clothes for her/his psychological well being be sure to put clothing in a paper bag to protect evidence collection. If possible, bring a change of clothing for the survivor to wear after the exam because the clothing will be taken as evidence. The Coordinator for Violence Response can help organize getting clothing and toiletries to survivors at the emergency room.
The cost of the exam is covered by special government state funds set aside for crime survivors or through the office of Health Promotion – Violence Prevention and Response. If a survivor goes to the hospital before calling police, the hospital is required to contact law enforcement. However, the survivor is not required to file a report (or even speak with the police) when they arrive at the hospital.
The hospital should also call CrossRoads Sexual Assault Crisis and Response Center and a volunteer advocate should arrive at the hospital to support the survivor throughout the exam. Follow-up services provided by the university include security matters (lock change, room change, phone number change, etc.), academic assistance, advocacy through the criminal justice system, Elon’s student conduct process, support groups, and other specialized services. All of these services are confidential.
After more than 72 hours: Many survivors of sexual assault do not come forward until days, weeks, months, or even years after the assault. For survivors of assault that occurred more than 72 hours ago, all of the same procedures apply with the EXCEPTION of the necessity to go to the hospital for evidence collection (rape protocol exam). Survivors still have the option to seek medical attention. The type and extent of medical attention will depend on the amount of time since the assault.