Going to the Hospital photo

Going to the Hospital

After a sexual assault, you may choose to go to a hospital emergency room for medical care and/or a sexual assault exam.

At the hospital, you may be offered the following options:

  • Immediate attention for medical issues that result from the assault.
  • Testing and possible preventative treatment against sexually transmitted infections (including HIV) and pregnancy.
  • A sexual assault exam for the collection of evidence. You don't have to decide right away what to do with the evidence collected.
  • The option to report to the police. You are entitled to a sexual assault exam whether you choose to report to the police or not.

Some hospitals participate in the Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner, or SANE, Program. At a SANE hospital, the sexual assault exam is done by a nurse with specialized training in the medical and forensic/legal needs of sexual assault survivors. Learn more about the  SANE program and locate a SANE hospital in your area.

Find out what you need to know before you go to the ER and what to expect when you get there.

Forensics for Survivors © 2015 All Rights Reserved

This project was supported by Grant #2009-WF-AX-0014 awarded by the Violence Against Women Grants Office, Office of Justice Programs, U.S. Department of Justice to the Massachusetts Executive Office of Public Safety & Security Office of Grants & Research and subgranted to the Boston Area Rape Crisis Center. Points of view in this document are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily represent the official position or policies of the U.S. Department of Justice or the Massachusetts Executive Office of Public Safety Programs Division.