A Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner (SANE) has special training in medical examinations as well as the legal, forensic and psychological needs of a complainant/victim/survivor of sexual misconduct. One of the roles of the SANE procedures is to assist in the gathering of legal, physical and forensic evidence, which can provide valuable support should you choose to file criminal charges.
If you are considering options in the future to pursue criminal action, immediately reporting the incident is crucial for preserving physical evidence on a person as well as at the scene. While a delay in reporting could impact a criminal investigation (effectively limiting the amount of physical and other evidence available), you can always report the incident days, weeks, months or even years after the sexual misconduct occurred.
Having evidence collected does not commit an individual to reporting or prosecuting the assault; the evidence can be sent to the crime lab anonymously and held for a period of months. Evidence can usually be collected up to five (5) days after an assault, though the likelihood of capturing evidence decreases with time. Note that showering, urinating and brushing teeth may destroy evidence.
When preserving evidence, be mindful of the following:
Clothing and bedding may contain evidence and can be taken to the ER in a paper bag (not plastic).
Drugs used in a sexual assault often leave the body very quickly. Individuals suspecting they may have been drugged should attempt to collect urine to take to the ER if urination is necessary before arriving in the ER.
It is also important to consider preserving other forms of evidence, including but not limited to:
RAINN Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network 1-800-656-HOPE
Project Unspoken Project Unspoken strives to raise awareness by educating the public with facts related to rape, sexual assault, and relationship violence, encouraging society to challenge these problems.
If you or someone you know feel you have been a victim of harassment, bias or discrimination at Tufts, these external resources can be used in conjunction with or in lieu of university reporting options: