Medical Care

Forensic Medical

This will be offered to you if you have been assaulted within 7-10 days. Sometimes it may be helpful to have a forensic examination even if the assault happened longer than 10 days ago.

The examination is to look after your medical needs as well as collecting forensic evidence. Any samples taken are carefully collected, labeled and stored and can be used in court as evidence.

The examination is carried out by a qualified forensic doctor/nurse. We understand that you might feel uncomfortable about the forensic examination, but every effort is made to make sure you feel comfortable and understand what is happening to you. You can stop the examination at any time and the crisis worker will be with you throughout. You can choose to have someone else with you as well if you wish, for example a friend or relative.

The examination will cover a number of points and may include:

  • Asking about your past medical history.
  • Checking you for injuries.
  • Deciding with you if emergency contraception (morning after pill or coil) is needed.
  • Deciding with you if any treatment is needed to help reduce the chances of you developing HIV or hepatitis B infection from this assault.
  • Deciding with you what forensic samples should be taken.

The forensic examination can seem frightening. Many people are worried about it. Please remember that we will support you and take it at your own pace. You can stop it at any time. It may take a while, depending on the samples required and we will discuss this with you fully before we start. Our main concern will be you and we make sure that you are treated with dignity and respect at all times.

What are my options?

Self referring (Non Police involvement)

We cannot see you unless you make an appointment but we will try to offer you an appointment as soon as we can.

We would encourage you to bring a friend or partner to support you when you attend the centre and take you home, particularly if you come along for a forensic medical examination.

You will have access to all the services offered at the New Swindon Sanctuary SARC. We will store all your samples for up to 7 years, so if you want to make a report to the police at a later date you can do. It gives you the chance to consider your next steps.

There will be no pressure for you to make a report to the police. Our crisis worker or Independent Sexual Violence Advisor will talk through your options with you. You may decide that you want to give information to the police without revealing your identity. You can also choose to have your forensic samples analysed anonymously. No information will be shared without your consent unless we feel that there is a child or vulnerable adult safeguarding issue If we felt that we had to share information we would inform you of this.

 

Reporting to the Police

You will usually be referred to a specially trained police officer who has received training in helping people who have been raped or sexually assaulted. They will want some information about what has happened to you and some basic details like your name and address. You may be in distress and it is important to try and be calm so they can get help to you as quickly as possible.

A specially trained police officer will then meet with you face to face as soon as possible and ask you what has happened and look at the circumstances of the assault. They will make a note of everything you say and make sure you get the right support and information quickly.

They will offer you the choice of an appointment for you to attend the New Swindon Sanctuary SARC so that we can assess your medical needs and collect any forensic medical evidence that could be used in an investigation.

The examination that takes place at the New Swindon Sanctuary SARC is conducted as part of the police investigation into a criminal offence. The police may also need to gather other evidence. This might come from where the assaulted took place. If the offender has been apprehended they may take medical evidence from him or any other relevant people or places.

The police may also want to interview you in order to take a full account of what happened and under what circumstances. You can provide this as a written statement or using a video recording. The police will discuss this with you, but the decision is yours. Our sexual violence advisor can support you through this interview, which can take place at the New Swindon Sanctuary SARC if that is what you want.

Confidentiality

If you do give us your contact details or, provide identifiable information, we will usually keep your contact with us completely confidential. However, in certain circumstances we may have to share information with another agency (e.g. social services, police or the ambulance service) in order to protect you, or another person. This will apply if:-

•             you are a child or young person under 18  who has experienced, or is at risk of, serious harm or,
•             you provide information about a child or young person under 18 who has experienced, or is at risk of, serious harm or,
•             we feel you are a vulnerable adult who has experienced, or is at risk of, serious harm or,
•             you provide information about a  person we feel may be a vulnerable adult who has experienced, or is at risk of, serious harm.