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What to Know If/When Reporting a Sexual Assault

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By: Development1
Posted On: August 8, 2019

Survivors of sexual assault have options in deciding how they want to proceed after an assault. One of those options is to pursue justice in the legal system, through law enforcement and the courts. Reporting a sexual assault is a personal decision that only the individual can make, but many survivors who have say that holding their abuser accountable helped them through the healing process.

If you have made the decision to report your assault, you may feel overwhelmed by the path ahead of you, and that’s okay. Organizations all over the country are dedicated to providing the support and protection survivors need while they pursue justice against their abuser. The Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network (RAINN) has a collection of resources available to help educate and prepare yourself for what the road ahead may look like if you choose to report your assault. Click on any of the following topics below to learn more about them:

Reporting to Law Enforcement

How do I report sexual assault? • Who will I be talking to? • Is there a time limit on reporting to the police? • What are some common concerns about reporting? • Do I have to report to get a rape kit? • Does it matter whether or not I know the perpetrator? Can I still have the exam? • Will I have to pay for the exam?

Communicating with Law Enforcement

What can I expect? • What should I know about law enforcement’s process? • What goes into the report?

What to Expect from the Criminal Justice System

What does it mean to press charges? • Why would the state decide not to move ahead with the case? • Charges have been pressed. What happens now? • What should I know about testifying? • Tips for taking the stand

What to Expect at a Criminal Trial

Know your rights • Find the support that works for you • Who will I be talking to? • Courtroom logistics • Tips for taking the stand • After the trial

What is a Rape Kit?

What is a rape kit? • Preparing for a sexual assault forensic exam • How long is the exam? What happens during a sexual assault forensic exam? • Who can perform the exam? Why should you consider having a sexual assault medical forensic exam? • How long will the evidence be stored?

The Importance of DNA in Sexual Assault Cases

What’s the benefit of having a sexual assault forensic exam? • What is DNA? • Where can DNA evidence be found? • What happens to DNA evidence?

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