When a victim is sexually assaulted, reporting the incident to officials is often very challenging. Sometimes, victims may not even report the incident at all. Many survivors feel that once it is reported and justice has been served, they can regain a sense of control over their lives.
When reporting the accident, there are certain police officers who are trained specially for speaking to victims of sexual assault. Many law enforcement agencies also participate in Sexual Assualt Response Teams (SARTs), which offer a survivor-centered, coordinated response to Sexual assault. These programs incorporate law enforcement, sexual assault service providers, and medical personnel in your area. Together, they work to organize the investigation process, limit questions and interview repetition and oversee communication with all involved agencies.
How To Report Sexual Assault
When ready to report sexual assault, there are many options a victim may have:
- Calling 911 – This is a great option for victims who are in immediate danger. Law enforcement will come to you, no matter where you are.
- Contact or Visit The Local Police Station – Local police stations have direct lines that local residents can call. Victims on college campuses should also be able to contact campus-based law enforcement for help.
- Visit a Medical Center – Victims who require medical attention for injuries sustained from the sexual assault incident have the option of telling the medical professional treating them that they would like to report a crime. Sexual forensic exams are also available upon request.
Common Concerns Associated with Reporting Sexual Assault
Having questions or concerns when deciding to report sexual Assault is very typical.
Victims should never forget that they are not alone. Here is a list of common concerns people may have before they decide to report the incident:
Knowing the Person Who Assaulted Them
According to the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network (RAINN), about two-thirds of victims know the perpetrator. Still, whether the victim knows the perpetrator or not, sexual assault is against the law.
The Perpetrator Stopped Before Finishing the Assault
Even if the Assault was not fully committed, attempted rape is a crime that should not be taken lightly.
Having No Physical Injuries
Many victims worry that they won't have enough evidence to prove they were assaulted because they have no physical injuries. That's OK! Most sexual assaults do not result in physical injuries. This is why it's important to receive medical attention, so a professional can check for possible internal damage. There is also the option to undergo a forensic examination to check for DNA evidence that isn't visible externally.
Being Intimate with the Perpetrator Currently or in the Past
Sexual Assault can occur in a relationship. Giving consent in past situations does not consent for anything in the future.
Not Being Believed
There is extensive police training done on topics like this. Although there are occasions where this may not be true, most law enforcement officers will be on your side. If you encounter an officer who is not understanding or taking your case seriously, ask to speak with their supervisor and let a local sexual assault service provider know.
Worried about Getting in Trouble
This is often seen among minors who are scared they will be disciplined, not necessarily by the law but by their parents (typically because they were doing something they should not have been doing, like drinking alcohol or doing drugs).
Contact a Lawyer
Contact a lawyer immediately if you or someone you know has been sexually assaulted. Our skilled attorneys at HMW Law have decades of combined experience that you need on your side. Please do not feel alone. We are here to help. Our law firm is dedicated to fighting for your rights and getting you the justice you deserve. Let us be your voice.
Contact our office today at (216) 220-6776 or visit us online to schedule your free consultation, where we will review the details of your case.