One option that might be available is getting a Sexual Assault Forensic Exam (SAFE). Another name for the SAFE exam is a “kit”. The SAFE exam collects evidence for a potential investigation administered by specially trained nurses called Sexual Assault Nurse Examiners.
In Douglas, Franklin, and Jefferson Counties, the SAFE exam is available to people of all genders and anyone aged 14 and up. Sexual Assault Nurse Examiners are specially trained to collect and record evidence of sexual assault but also offer medical care, with special attention to injury, pregnancy, and sexually transmitted disease.
Is the SAFE exam time-sensitive?
Yes. The recommended time to do a SAFE exam is within 72 hours of the assault, but in some cases the SAFE exam can be done up to 5 days. Not sure if you qualify? Contact an Advocate from The Care Center at 785-843-8985 to explore your options.
Do I need to make a police report if I go to the hospital?
No. You have a couple of options. First, you can make a criminal report and your kit will be assigned a case number to go along with the investigation. Secondly, you can do an “anonymous kit”. Since the evidence collected in the kit is time-sensitive, the exam can be done and no police report has to be made. Even though there is no longer a statute of limitations for sexual assault (victim-survivors can make a police report at any time), the evidence will be kept at the KBI (Kansas Bureau of Investigations) crime lab for up to 5 years. If you decide that you want to make a report within those 5 years, you can contact police and they can access your kit as part of their investigation.
What do I need to know before going to the hospital?
- The Care Center Advocates are available 24/7 to meet you at the hospital to be a support system during the SAFE exam and help answer any questions you might have.
- It’s recommended that before you go to the hospital you refrain from changing your clothes or brushing your teeth. Don’t worry, if you have done any of these things you can still get an exam.
- You can refuse any part of the exam or stop the exam all together at any point.
- The costs should be covered by the local District Attorney’s office, but if you have any questions about costs or insurance, contact The Care Center to explore your options.
- For youth and teens younger than 18 who have been sexually assaulted, the incident MUST be reported to law enforcement under Kansas’ mandatory reporting laws. Additionally, if you are a survivor who is under 18, over 60, or a person with a disability, it is important to understand the hospital’s mandated reporting requirements. Please call The Care Center to find out more.
Where can I get a SAFE exam?
Lawrence Memorial Hospital
325 Maine St.
Lawrence, Kansas 66044
The Care Center Advocates are always available 24/7 at LMH to offer comprehensive advocacy and support.
What if my child is under the age of 14?
Pediatric forensic evidence collection exams are not available at any hospitals within Douglas, Franklin, or Jefferson Counties. However, Pediatric SANE (Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner) Programs are available at Children’s Mercy Hospital-South in nearby Overland Park and Stormont-Vail in Topeka. The Care Center Advocates can be available to parents upon request. For more information about Pediatric forensic evidence collection exams, please call our 24/7 Support Hotline at 785-843-8985.