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What to Expect in a Rape Kit Examination

What to Expect in a Rape Kit Examination


Cleveland Rape Crisis Center recommends going to an emergency room with a specially trained Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner (SANE) as soon as possible, but especially within 96 hours of the assault.  Remember that you can choose later that you do not wish to report to law enforcement or continue with prosecution, even if you have had a medical/forensic exam.  Remember to always ask questions if you do not understand and that you can REFUSE any part of the exam if you so choose.

Click here for a list of 24-hour SANE units in Cuyahoga County.

Once you arrive at the hospital, you can request that an advocate from CRCC meet you there to provide support and answer questions.  Call the 24-hour hotline at 216-619-6192 if one is not offered to you.

Hospital staff will do everything that they can to see you as quickly as possible in a private, secluded area.

You should try NOT to use the bathroom before the exam as this may interfere with some aspects of evidence collection.

You must give written consent to have the exam performed.

You will be asked to give a general medical history, including current medications, past illnesses, etc.

You will be asked to give an "Assault/Abuse History," a very detailed description of the assault.

If you are wearing clothing you wore during the assault, you will be asked to give it over as evidence.  If you have already changed clothes, bring the clothes you were wearing during the assault with you in a bag.

The nurse or doctor who is working with you will take various "samples" from you, such as fingernail scrapings, hair standards, oral swabs, etc. This is for evidence collection as well as to establish a difference between your DNA and any other that is found.

The nurse or doctor may also look at your body using a "Woods Lamp," a flourescent lamp that allows the practitioner to see evidence that they cannot see with the naked eye.

The final stage of the exam is a vaginal/penile exam in which the nurse or doctor checks for injury and also conducts evidence collection in this area.

After the exam is complete, you should be permitted to wash up using toiletries provided by the hospital.  The hospital should also have clothing for you to put on if you have given your own clothing over as evidence.

To request a CRCC hospital advocate, call 216-619-6192.