After a sexual assault, it is important to receive medical care, even if you do not see any injuries.

You can receive a Sexual Assault Forensic Exam, where a trained nurse or physician will look for things that might identify an attacker, as well as provide medical care for injuries and to help prevent things like STIs and pregnancy. You can decide to report to the police when you get the exam or you can decide that you do not want to talk to the police at that time-either way the exam will be FREE. For more information on what an exam may include, please read on below. Find the closest location to receive a Sexual Assault Forensic Exam. An advocate from your local Rape Crisis Center can also accompany you to receive your exam to support you through the process.

Find the closest location to receive a FREE Exam

What happens during a SAFE

During the exam, the nurse will collect “forensic evidence”-this means they will look for things that might identify the attacker, such as hairs, fibers, and body fluids. The exam may include swabs in the mouth and photographs of visible injuries. An internal exam may be conducted on adolescent and adult women, similar to what you might experience during a gynecologist appointment. You may be asked to give blood, urine, and hair. All of these samples are to increase the chances that they will be able to identify your attacker. When you tell your medical provider what happened during your assault, this helps them know where to look and what samples to take. 

When you are sexually assaulted, you may be fearful that you may become pregnant or get an STI, but during a SAFE a medical provider can help decrease the chances of these things happening. You can receive emergency contraception to decrease the chances of becoming pregnant. You may be given preventative treatment for sexually transmitted infections (STIs). You may also be tested for HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, and given preventative treatment, or you may be referred to your local health department for testing. If you are concerned about possible HIV infection, visit the Maryland Community Services Locator to find HIV testing, treatment, and care sites near you. All of these options can be very effective but need to be taken as soon as possible to work their best. 

An advocate from your local Rape Crisis Center can accompany you throughout your exam to support you, answer your questions, and help you throughout the process. Click here to find the number for your local center