Medical Care and Evidence Collection
Although going to the hospital after a sexual assault may feel overwhelming, it is a safe place to get help. For example, at the Kapi`olani Medical Center for Women & Children, the acute forensic examination is available to adults and minors, females and males.
Acute Forensic Examinations
Within 72 hours:
Examinations are done within 72 hours of a sexual assault. If you are worried about sexually transmitted infections, HIV or other medical concerns, even if it is over 72 hours since the assault, it is important to seek medical care. Medical care following a sexual assault is important even if you have no visible injuries.
Within 120 Hours:
Evidence collection should be completed within 120 hours of an assault, but fluids, hair samples, and DNA can be collected for a long time thereafter. Even if you have washed, evidence can often be obtained.
After 120 Hours:
After 120 hours, it may still be helpful to have medical attention, even if you are not trying to obtain evidence of an assault. If you are still wearing any clothes worn during the assault, wear them to the hospital, but bring a change of clothes, as the hospital will keep the clothes you are wearing as evidence.
If you have changed clothes, bring the ones you were wearing during the assault to the hospital in a clean paper (not plastic) bag or a wrapped in a clean sheet. Leave sheets/towels at the scene of the assault. Police will collect them. Typically, police will be called to the hospital to take custody of the rape kit, but it is up to you whether you wish to speak with them or file a criminal complaint.
- Ensure that you are physically alright, and address concerns about the risks of sexually transmitted infections, pregnancy, and HIV.
- It is a good idea to collect and preserve any evidence, even if you do not want to report the assault to the police. Sometimes people change their minds and decide later that they want to pursue legal action.
- It is best to not wash, bathe, douche, or brush your teeth (if oral activity took place). But even if you have cleaned up, you can and should still get a medical examination.
- If you have not changed the clothing you were wearing at the time of the assault, keep these on as they can be collected at the time of the examination. If possible, bring a change of clothing.
- If you do change, put each article of clothing you were wearing in a separate paper bag and bring everything to the hospital.
- Do not clean or disturb the physical location where the assault occurred.
- If you suspect that you were a victim of a rape drug, medical care for testing and collecting evidence as soon as possible is important. These drugs leave your system very quickly.