Sexual Assault Examinations Without Police Involvement
Victims who are at least 18 years old should go to an emergency room and request a forensic medical exam. Victims who do not yet wish to report the assault to police should also notify the facility of their desire not to contact police. Sometimes the hospital may still contact police, but you don’t have to give a statement unless you are ready. The hospital should also contact a sexual assault advocate from a rape crisis center for the victim.
If a sexual assault victim is not ready to get police involved, she or he still has the option to have a sexual assault examination conducted. No police report is required. Sexual assault exams provide many benefits. See Sexual Assault Examinations Without Police Involvement by Texas Association Against Sexual Assault, which explains how they work, how they help, and how to have one conducted without police involvement.
All evidence collected during the exam will be securely stored and only released with the survivor’s written consent. Information about a survivor’s visit to the hospital and the treatment they receive is also confidential.
Texas law requires every emergency room in the state to offer sexual assault exams. However, only some facilities have special nurses called sexual assault nurse examiners (SANEs). Receiving care from a certified SANE is best whenever possible, because SANEs are specially trained to collect evidence and provide compassionate care. If a victim goes to a facility that does not have a SANE, that facility must offer to transfer the victim to the nearest SANE facility.
A sexual assault examination has two parts: the medical portion, and the evidence collection (“forensic”) portion. The law expressly states that sexual assault survivors never have to pay for any procedures or services related to evidence collection, or for the evidence collection kit (see Texas Code of Criminal Procedure chapter 56.065(h)(2)).
TAASA is the statewide organization committed to ending sexual violence in Texas. TAASA member agencies comprise a statewide network of more than 80 crisis centers.
Resources in Texas include:
- Texas Association Against Sexual Assault, (512) 474-7190
- Legal Aid for Survivors of Sexual Assault (LASSA), (844) 303-7233
- Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network (RAINN), (800) 656-4673
- Texas Advocacy Project, (888) 296-7233
- Texas RioGrande Legal Aid, (888) 988-9996
- Legal Aid of North West Texas, (888) 429-5277
- Lone Star Legal Aid, (800) 733-8394