Office of Civil Rights and Sexual Misconduct

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Steps to Take Following a Sexual Assault

Stay Warm

Persons who experience Sexual Assault may be in a state of shock. It is important to stay warm by wrapping up in a blanket or coat. This will help recovery from shock and make it less likely that physical evidence is disturbed.

Get to a Safe Place and Seek Emotional Support

Talking with a trusted friend or relative or someone who is professionally trained to deal with sexual assault like a confidential CARE advocate or mental health professional at the University Health Center can help you make decisions about what to do. Whether you decide to go to law enforcement or not, it is important to take care of your own emotional needs. Professional counseling may be beneficial.

Preserve Evidence

If possible, consider taking steps to preserve physical evidence - on the body and at the location of an assault. It is important not to shower or bathe, eat or drink, brush teeth or gargle, change clothes, urinate or defecate, brush or comb hair, or smoke. Clothing worn at the time of an assault should not be washed but placed in a paper bag “as is” and brought to the hospital. In order to avoid forgetting important details, write down the facts about the accused and the assault.

Seek Medical Attention

It is important to seek medical attention as soon as possible. A medical examination will ensure appropriate medical treatment, including testing for pregnancy or sexually transmitted infections. Persons who experience sexual assault can access a Sexual Assault Forensic Exam (SAFE) within 72 hours of an assault. Each Maryland county has a hospital that provides SAFE exams. A SAFE exam is available at UM Prince George’s Hospital Center. To find a SAFE provider in other counties call 1-800-656-4653. SAFE exams and attention to medical needs are available without having to reveal a person’s identity to the police.

Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Center at UM Prince George’s Hospital

3001 Hospital Drive, Cheverly, MD 20785 Help Hotline: 301-618-3154 (24-hour Hotline) or 24-hours/7 days a week:

Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Center Website

University of Maryland Police Department (UMPD)

UMPD will assist Complainants with a police escort to the hospital in notifying other law enforcement authorities in other jurisdictions, as appropriate.

Regardless of where the incident occurred Call 911 in an emergency.