Sexual assault survivors have the right to a medical-forensic exam.
The Arizona Coalition to End Sexual and Domestic Violence’s medical-forensic exam factsheet is a helpful resource for more information about medical-forensic exams.
It’s a comprehensive medical exam performed by a Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner/Sexual Assault Forensic Examiner (SANE/SAFE). They are a specially trained Registered Nurse, Nurse Practitioner, Physician’s Assistant or Physician. The exam must be performed by a SANE/SAFE rather than another healthcare provider.
- Report the assault to hospital emergency staff. All hospital personnel are required by law to report to law enforcement if a sexual assault survivor comes to the emergency department for treatment resulting from a sexual assault. Survivors may decline to speak with law enforcement.
- Emergency department staff will contact a Sexual Assault Resource Service (SARS) Advocate to provide emotional support to you during your hospital visit. Ask the Emergency department staff to contact a SARS Advocate if one has not been called.
- Your SARS Advocate will coordinate with the examiner to provide the medical-forensic exam.
In Pima County, there are two designated medical-forensic exam centers: Tucson Medical Center (TMC), 5301 E. Grant Road; Banner - University Medical Center, 1625 N. Campbell Ave.
- You have a right to a medical-forensic exam regardless of whether you utilize law enforcement.
- You have a right to decline any or all parts of a medical-forensic exam.
- You have a right to receive medical care without having a medical-forensic exam. For example, hospital staff can provide you with medications — including those to prevent sexually transmitted infections and Plan B to prevent pregnancy — and treat you for any injuries incurred because of the assault.
- You have a right to receive advocacy offered by a specially trained SARS Advocate without having a medical-forensic exam.
- You have the right to receive medical care at any emergency department that you choose.