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Medical Advocacy

Victims/survivors of an assault may want medical attention afterwards, but that can sometimes seem overwhelming. Our trained advocates can be there to help. There are two main reasons survivors choose to go to the hospital: a medical examination and/or forensic evidence collection.


Medical Examination

After a sexual assault, you may choose to get a medical exam to check on your physical health. A healthcare provider will be able to check for injuries, infections, and other possible effects of the assault, including many that might not be evident to you. You can get this exam through your regular channels (primary healthcare provider, community clinic, etc.), or you may choose to go to Meriter Hospital’s emergency room for an exam with a trained Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner.


Adults will NOT have to undergo evidence collection or report the assault to the police. For more information or to discuss your options, please call our helpline (608-251-7273).


Forensic Evidence Collection

A medical forensic exam is recommended if you intend (or might eventually intend) to report the assault to the police. The Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner (SANE) Program can be accessed by going to the emergency room at Meriter Hospital. SANE nurses are specially trained to collect evidence (injuries, foreign DNA, etc.) as well as assess the physical health of assault victims.


What to Expect

Whether you choose to have evidence collected or just ask for a basic medical exam, here are some things you can expect:

  • You can wait for the nurse in a private room.
  • An RCC advocate will be called immediately to come offer support. You may send them away if you want.
  • You may also have a support person (a friend, family member, or RCC advocate) with you during the exam.
  • The nurse will explain everything she is doing. You can opt out of whatever you want.
  • If a police officer is present at the hospital, you may choose whether or not to allow them into the exam room.
  • The clothes you were wearing at the time of the assault will be held for evidence until your case is closed, so bring a change of clothes if possible.
  • Patients are almost never billed for a SANE visit. Please call our helpline for more information (608-251-7273).


Need help navigating your options?

Every survivor is different and you may have unique needs based on your situation. Please call the Rape Crisis Center helpline and one of our trained counselors will talk to you about your options.

(608) 251-7273