Victim’s Rights

Emergency Room 

  • The victim has the right to have an advocate present.
  • The victim has the right to have privileged communication with an advocate.
  • The victim has the right to have an advocate present during a sexual assault exam.
  • The victim can choose to complete sexual assault exam or not – adults or minors regardless of reporting to police.
  • The victim has the right to have a free sexual assault exam.
  • The victim can withdraw consent for completing the sexual assault exam at any time.
  • The victim can have the hospital store sexual assault kit for at least a year if not ready to report to police.
  • The victim has the right to receive free HIV preventative medication.
  • The victim has the right to be notified of sexual assault kit testing, results, and if the kit will be destroyed.

Police

  • The victim has the right to report or not to police.
    • The only exception is if it is a child abuse/dependency/neglect.
    • Note: Not all child sexual abuse/assault is mandated to be reported to police.

Court

  • The victim has the right to attend any and all court proceedings including juvenile court.
  • The victim has the right to have an advocate in all court proceedings.
  • The victim has the right to complete victim impact statements before sentencing or release, including shock probation and parole.
  • The victim has the right to receive a free copy of defendant’s pre-trial conditions of release.
  • The victim has the right to a possible closed-circuit trial testimony for victims under the age of 12.
  • The victim has the right to apply for victim’s compensation.
  • The victim has the right to apply for a protective order.
  • The victim can register with VINE to receive automatic notification of court date, offender status, and service of protective orders.

Evidence Collection

Parts of a SAFE (sexual assault forensic examination) (“rape kit”)

DNA evidence may be collected up to 96 hours after an assault. A person may do all, none, or just some part of this voluntary kit. A person may start and then completely stop having the kit done. Some of these may not be done, depending on the kind of assault.

  • Victim’s medical history
  • Victim’s descriptions of sexual assault
  • Taking blood sample
  • Undressing, providing underwear, clothing, and shoes as evidence
  • Combing of pubic hair
  • Pulling out 30 pubic hairs
  • Swabbing of vagina or penis
  • Swabbing of external genitalia
  • Swabbing of anus
  • Swabbing of mouth
  • Swabbing of cheeks
  • Swabbing other parts of body for dried secretions

Note:

-A sexual assault nurse examiner (R.N., SANE) may perform evidence collection with patients 14+ years old in the E.R.

-Any qualified medical professional in the E.R. may perform evidence collection on patients of any age-child or adult.

-In some cases children may be referred to a Child Advocacy Center (CAC) for the medical exam. www.cacgrd.org

Safety Planning

Emotional

  • Regulate your breathing so that it is slow and even from your bellybutton.
  • Carry a soothing object or essential oil in your pocket/purse/bag to touch or smell.
  • Select your top 3 go-to coping skills to use if you think about or see your perpetrator in a public place or in court.
  • Call New Beginnings Sexual Assault Support Services 24/7 at 1-800-226-7273.
  • Text the Crisis Text Line by texting HOME to 741741.
  • Call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255).

Physical

  • Call 911 if in immediate danger.
  • Apply for a protective order.
  • Request police to drive by your house.
  • Install, update, or change a home security system, including locks on doors and windows.
  • Use lamp timers so lights inside your house go on/off randomly.
  • Vary the routes you drive or walk
  • Ask a trusted neighbor to watch your house/apartment/car.

Digital

  • Reduce or close social media accounts.
  • Change privacy levels.
  • Limit what you choose to share on social media.

Psychological First Aid

You have experienced a significant brain-based, psychological, and emotional trauma. Your psychological/emotional state and sense of safety have been greatly impacted. There are effective things you can do now to learn how to manage feelings, calm your body/mind and allow your brain to process what happened:

  • Practice relaxed breathing
  • Take a walk
  • Go to a crisis couseling session
  • Learn about the effects of sexual trauma
  • Learn and use healthy coping and grounding skills

*Trauma-informed therapy may be needed to best ensure emotional and behavioral health and wellbeing.