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Preserving Evidence and Seeking Medical Attention

Try to preserve all physical evidence.

Do not wash your face or hands, bathe, brush your teeth, drink or eat, douche, or change clothes if you can avoid it. If you do change your clothes, put all clothing you were wearing at the time of the assault in individual paper bags (not plastic). It is important to preserve as much evidence as possible should you later decide to press criminal charges.

Seek medical attention.

It is important to seek immediate and follow-up medical attention for several reasons:

  • to assess and treat any physical injuries you may have sustained; 
  • to determine the risk of sexually transmitted diseases or pregnancy and take appropriate medical measures; 
  • and--if you choose--you may have evidence collected to aid criminal prosecution if you later decide to file criminal charges. 

It is best for any physical evidence to be collected immediately, ideally within the first 24 hours. (The quality and quantity of evidence collected later than this may be substantially diminished.)

The Boston College Police and/or a SANet advocate are available to transport you to the hospital if necessary.  The hospital can provide general medical treatment and, if the survivor chooses, conduct a special evidence collection exam. A specially trained nurse, an emergency department physician, or a gynecologist will perform the evidence collection exam.  A sexual assault advocate or a support person of your choice may be present throughout the procedure.