We can offer you an assessment with a specially trained doctor/nurse. There may be DNA from the person who assaulted you or other forensic evidence of the assault that can be collected within assessment by a doctor/nurse. The thought of an assessment may seem scary and overwhelming, however it is important that this evidence is collected as early as possible.
Professionals may talk about the ‘forensic evidence window’, this is talking about the period of time in which it is possible to collect forensic evidence such as skin swabs and intimate samples. DNA decays over time therefore the earlier an examination takes place the better the chance that evidence can be collected. This evidence can then be used by the police build a case – even if you don’t want to immediately report to the police the samples taken can be stored and still be used later on within a police investigation. In general it is less likely that forensic evidence will be collected after 7 days, although in some cases examination may be appropriate after this time where injuries are present. Whether you choose to report through the police or directly to Horizon as a self-referral the team can discuss with you whether a medical examination would be appropriate for you.
The forensic evidence window varies depending on the type of assault, however once it is passed the evidence can not be collected so it is best to contact us or the police as soon as possible both so that evidence can be collected and you can access the many support services available to help you deal with the assault.
The details of the assault will determine the evidence that may be able to be collected. This may include clothing, documenting any injuries, hair combings, skin swabs, samples from your fingernails, intimate samples, blood or urine. If you choose to have a medical examination you can take a break or stop the examination at any time and a crisis worker will be there to support you throughout your time in the SARC, including during the assessment.
The examination is not just about collecting evidence; the doctor/nurse will also treat any minor injuries and look after your general health and wellbeing.