It is important to seek emergency medical care as soon as possible following a sexual assault. Medical care is usually provided by a doctor and/or a sexual assault nurse examiner (SANE) in a hospital emergency department or medical clinic.
A sexual assault nurse examiner is a specially trained and certified professional who will provide needed care, document the details of the assault, and collect evidence. The nurse can recommend treatment for sexually transmitted infections and pregnancy prevention if needed. In addition, the nurse is available to testify in court.
If you are uncertain if you local medical service provider in MS provides medical care after rape, contact MSCASA or your local rape crisis center. Rape crisis centers offer a trained crisis counselors to accompany you to the hospital; alternately, a supportive friend or family member can go with you.
If the survivor is seeking or considering medical care-
- The emergency room staff can perform a forensic medical exam – often called a rape kit – and will collect evidence against the perpetrator. In Mississippi, victims have up to 96 hours to have a Sexual Assault Nurse Exam (SANE). These exams are of no cost the victim. If its after 96 hours, medical treatment is still encouraged and they are still eligible for the exam. Contact your local state coalition to find out about SANE exams in your state.
- The survivor also has the option of providing any other evidence that may support their case, such as sheets, blankets, or anything that may have DNA from the perpetrator.
- The hospital will keep the evidence so bring a change of clothes for your friend if necessary.
- In the case of genital rape, a doctor may test for STI’s or recommend future testing.
- The doctor may also prescribe emergency contraception if there is a risk of pregnancy.
- Most hospitals provide an advocate for sexual assault survivors to provide support during this process. You may request this person’s presence from the local rape crisis center if one is not sent automatically. In addition to emotional support, this advocate will provide information regarding the survivor’s legal rights and options. These advocates are also trained to support friends and family members so you may also feel free to discuss your concerns with this person.
Medical Professionals may access sexual assault exams forms from the MS Attorney General’s Office website below:
For further information or questions about SANE exams or medical care for survivors of sexual assault contact firstname.lastname@example.org