This page has been printed from the Yarrow Place website http://www.yarrowplace.sa.gov.au
Medical and legal options
Not all victims of rape and sexual assault wish to take legal
or police action. Some just want medical assessment and health
care. Adults (16 years and over) should be allowed to make the
decision about legal action themselves. They can report the crime
any time (even years) after the assault. However, if they wish
to have a forensic examination to assist them in taking legal
action, the collection of evidence is usefully done within 1 week
and ideally as soon as possible after the assault.
No legal action or a police report with no
further action taken:
This option is for people who have been sexually assaulted and
do not want to go through the legal process. They should be offered
medical care to address concerns they may have in relation to the
assault. Some of these concerns may include: pregnancy, sexually
transmitted infections and the physical effects of the assault.
This medical care may be provided by:
- General Practitioners
- Hospital Emergency Department
- Yarrow Place
- SHine SA and other community health services
If the decision is to take legal action, the person will be advised
to have a forensic medical examination. This examination involves
both medical care and the collection of forensic evidence which
is important in the investigation of the assault. The forensic examination
is generally only done up to a week after the alleged assault and
is most useful if done within seventy two hours after the assault.
The forensic examination can be a detailed and lengthy physical
examination involving the taking of swabs for saliva and semen as
well as samples of hair, blood and other substances.
In Adelaide forensic medical examinations are performed by Yarrow
Place as we are the only sexual assault service in the state. In
rural areas there are general practitioners who have been trained
to perform forensic medical examinations.
People may find it difficult to make the decision about legal
action and should be given the option of having the forensic specimens
collected and stored until the decision is made within a 6 month
period. This examination also includes medical care. The procedure
at Yarrow Place stores the forensic evidence collected in locked
fridge for three months. After this, it is stored at the Forensic
Science Centre for a further three months, after this time the evidence
will be destroyed. This gives the victim up to 6 months to make
a decision about reporting to the police.