Victims and survivors of sexual violence have the right to a Sexual Assault Forensic Exam (SAFE).
A SAFE kit is for anyone of any gender.
What does a sexual assault exam include?
A sexual assault exam takes an average of 3-4 hours, depending on the circumstances and extent of needed care. It includes history, physical assessment, evidence collection, STI and pregnancy evaluation and preventative care, and discharge and referrals.
- History consists of a narrative and questions related to the assault, as well as past and present medical history. It is intended to help identify injuries related to the assault and guide evidence collection.
- Physical Assessment identifies injuries and documents physical findings.
- Evidence Collection uses the CT100 State of Connecticut Sexual Assault Evidence Collection kit. This is the standardized sexual assault kit used in all CT hospitals. This process includes 13 steps and the exam is conducted in a sensitive and respectful manner. Any step in the exam can be declined. The CT400 Toxicology Screen Evidence Collection kit is the standardized kit used in all CT hospitals where drugs or alcohol are suspected to have been used to facilitate a sexual assault. Both the CT100 and CT400 require consent. The evidence collection kit includes retrieving a variety of samples including debris (soil, fibers, grass, etc.), blood, hair, urine, and genital swabs.
- Sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and pregnancy risk evaluation and preventive care are provided. Medications are given to prevent STIs and emergency contraception is offered to prevent pregnancy if applicable.
- Discharge, follow-up, and referrals are given, including information regarding follow-up care for medical and counseling purposes.
Support during a SAFE exam
Victims who go to the hospital in Connecticut are entitled to have an advocate present while a SAFE kit is performed. Advocates are there to explain the process and to empower victims to control this difficult process. At Greenwich, Stamford, or Norwalk hospitals, an advocate from The Rowan Center will be called whenever a victim goes to the hospital. A victim always has the choice as to whether an advocate comes to the hospital—but The Rowan Center will send one of our state-certified advocates to be there whenever requested!
Deciding to have a SAFE exam
In order to gather usable evidence, collection kits need to be completed within 120 hours (5 days) of an assault.
Determining whether or not to have evidence collected is part of an overall decision about how and when you address any health and safety concerns you have after an assault. Having the evidence collection kit done does not mean you are obligated to press charges.
If you have been the victim of a sexual assault or have any questions about the exam, confidential advocacy is available to you at any time of day or night.
For services in Lower Fairfield County, contact The Rowan Center at 203-329-2929 (24/7).
For statewide services contact the Connecticut Alliance to End Sexual Violence.
Statewide Hotline: 1-888-999-5545 (24/7)
Spanish Hotline: 1-888-568-8332 (24/7)