Have you been sexually assaulted or sexually abused in the previous two weeks?
The Sexual Assault Resource Centre (SARC) provides a 24-hour emergency service in metropolitan Perth. For emergency assistance after a recent sexual assault phone 9340 1828 or 1800 199 888 (free from land line only).
What to do after an assault
In most situations, what happens after a sexual assault is your choice. You can choose to see a doctor, to go to the police or to do nothing.
It is a good idea to see a doctor as soon as possible to make sure any medical issues, such as sexually transmitted infections, unwanted pregnancy or injuries are addressed. The doctor will be able to provide better care if they know about the assault, but you can choose how much detail you want to tell.
The doctors and counsellors at SARC offer a range of services to people who have been sexually assaulted or raped in the past 2 weeks. It is up to you what services you want to accept.
A doctor’s first priority is treating urgent health issues. If you have a serious medical condition or injury, you will be referred to a hospital emergency department for treatment.
The doctor can provide you with advice and treatment. This includes information on the risk of pregnancy, emergency contraception and prevention for some sexually transmitted infections. You can ask for your medical test results to be given to your own doctor for follow-up.
A forensic examination is an important way of collecting evidence of a sexual assault to be used in future court proceedings if you report the assault to the police. The aim of the examination is to collect and document evidence. It may include:
- taking a history of the assault
- documenting your general health
- collecting samples of physical evidence such as taking swabs for DNA
- taking photographs of injuries or bruises (photographs are not taken of the genital area)
- collecting clothing worn when the assault occurred
- writing a medico-legal report on your physical condition.
A forensic examination can be offered regardless of whether or not you want to report the assault. If you are unsure about reporting, forensic evidence can be collected and stored securely to give you time to make a decision. SARC doctors will not give your forensic evidence to the police without your permission.
In most cases a forensic examination should be undertaken within hours of an assault to enable collection of the best evidence, although DNA can still be found 7 to 10 days afterwards.
In regional areas, SARC forensic kits are used by doctors or specially trained nurses to collect forensic evidence on your behalf.
A SARC counsellor can be present throughout the medical and forensic examination to support you with the immediate impact of the sexual assault. Counselling is also available in the future, if you request it.
SARC can provide the support of an Aboriginal worker for Aboriginal people and their family, if this is requested.
Where to get help
Sexual Assault Resource Centre (SARC)
- 24 hour emergency line for recent sexual assault – phone 9340 1828 or 1800 199 888 (free from land line only)
- Emergency telephone counselling between 8.30am and 11.00pm daily – phone 9340 1828
- In an emergency situation, go to the nearest hospital emergency department
- See your doctor
Sexual Assault Resource Centre
This publication is provided for education and information purposes only. It is not a substitute for professional medical care. Information about a therapy, service, product or treatment does not imply endorsement and is not intended to replace advice from your healthcare professional. Readers should note that over time currency and completeness of the information may change. All users should seek advice from a qualified healthcare professional for a diagnosis and answers to their medical questions.