What To Do If You Experience Sexual Assault
If you are in immediate danger, call 9-1-1
Seek medical attention
If you have been sexually assaulted, you have the option to seek medical attention. This should be done as soon as possible after the assault. The purpose is multi-fold:
- To treat physical injuries.
- To ascertain the risk of sexually transmitted diseases or pregnancy and intervene accordingly.
- To gather evidence that could aid prosecution.
- Evidence should be collected immediately. After the first 24 hours, the quality of evidence usually decreases, but can be collected up to 72 hours after the assault. This evidence collection can be performed at any of the area hospital emergency rooms:
- St. Francis (860-714-4001)
- Hartford Hospital (860-524-2525)
A support person may be present during the exam. If you do not have a person in mind, a sexual assault complainant advocate from Connecticut Alliance to End Sexual Violence can accompany you or meet you at the hospital. Call 24 hours a day 888‑999‑5545 to request an advocate. Hospitals can also call and request an advocate for you. Please note, restrictions may have changed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
NOTE: If you seek treatment at a local hospital and police are contacted, this does not mean you have to proceed with criminal charges.
Importance of preserving evidence
Hospital staff will ask to collect evidence. Whether or not you decide to have evidence collected, it is important that you avoid the following prior to arriving at the hospital:
- Changing clothes
- Showering or bathing
- Brushing your teeth
- Using the bathroom
Taking these precautions before the medical exam allows you to keep your legal options open as long as possible. These activities can destroy vital evidence. If you have not changed your clothes, bring a change of clothes with you. If you’ve changed your clothes since the assault, place the clothes you wore at the time of the attack in a paper bag (not plastic). Bring them with you to the emergency room. Let your nurse or doctor know you have them, and tell them if you have done anything else (washed, etc.) before you arrived.