What to Expect at the ER photo

What to Expect at the ER

If possible, choose a hospital that participates in the Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner (SANE) program. These nurses are highly trained and have considerable experience working with survivors of sexual assault.

If going to a SANE hospital is not possible, all hospitals in Massachusetts use a standardized sexual assault evidence collection kit (SAECK), also called the “rape kit”, and should follow the same protocol:

  • Emergency room staff may ask you a few questions about why you are visiting the ER to determine whether you want a rape exam performed and what kind of injuries you may have.
  • Any injuries should be treated before an exam is started.

If you decide to have a sexual assault exam and evidence collection kit, the SANE nurse (if applicable), or other medical professional will be called to perform the exam. You have the right to request an advocate from your local rape crisis center.  There is no charge for a rape crisis advocate.

You have the right to refuse any medical treatment, including the rape exam, when you go to the hospital.

If you are a survivor who is under 18, over 60, or disabled, it is important to understand the hospital’s mandated reporting requirments.

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.