What to do if you have been sexually assaulted
- Make sure you are in a safe place.
- Call someone -- you should not be alone. Call a trusted friend, family member, trained counselor or medical professional, NOVA’s Sexual Assault Services, NOVA Police or 911.
- Get medical help right away. You need to be examined for injury, physical evidence, sexually transmitted diseases, and pregnancy as soon as possible, but no later than 72 hours after the assault. A specially trained sexual assault nurse examiner will perform DNA collection (Physical Evidence Recovery Kit - PERK), injury assessment, documentation, preventive medications and referrals to legal and support services. Going to the hospital to seek medical attention does not obligate you to report the crime.
- In order to preserve evidence, do not change your clothes, wash, shower, douche, eat, drink, brush your teeth or use the bathroom. If you must change your clothes, place the items in a paper bag – not plastic – and take them with you to the emergency room. This is very important if you decide to file a report later. Bring a change of clothes with you.
- Consider reporting the assault. You are encouraged to report the assault to the NOVA police or the local police.
Where to get help
Hospitals that perform SANE exams:
A Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner (SANE) is a Registered Nurse who has received special training so that he/she can provide comprehensive care to sexual assault victims. In addition, he/she is able to conduct a forensic exam and may provide expert testimony if a case goes to trial. These exams are also known as Physical Evidence Recovery Kit (PERK).
- Inova Fairfax Hospital (forensic evidence collection available)
3300 Gallows Road
Falls Church, VA 22042
- Sentara Northern Virginia Medical Center (forensic evidence collection available)
2300 Opitz Boulevard
Woodbridge, VA 22191
Advocacy and Support Resources
Resources at NOVA
- NOVA Sexual Assault Services (SAS): 703.338.0834 or email@example.com
- NOVA Police: 703.764.5000
- Title IX Coordinator: firstname.lastname@example.org or 703.323.3459
- NOVA Human Resources: 703.323.3110
Resources in the Community
- Alexandria Sexual Assault Center: 703.683.7273
- Alexandria Domestic Violence Shelter: 703.746.4911
- Fairfax County Office of Domestic and Sexual Violence Services: 703.360.7273
- Stafford County Family Violence and Sexual Assault Hotline: 540.373.9373
- National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1.800.273.8255
- Domestic Violence Hotline: 1.800.799.SAFE (7233) TTY: 1.800.787.3224
Safe houses for victims of domestic violence
- Prince William Domestic Violence Intervention ACTS/Turning Points, Prince William: 703.221.4951
- Alexandria Women’s Shelter: 703.838.4911
- Arlington Doorways for Women & Families (formerly TACTS) Safe House: 703.237.0881
- Bethany House of Northern Virginia (Alexandria): 703.658.9500; TTY: 1.800.828.1120
- Fairfax County Emergency Shelter: 703-360-7273; TTY 711
- Artemis House: 703.435.4940; TTY: 703.435.1235 (24/7)
- Loudoun Abused Women’s Shelter & Legal Services (LAWS): 703.777.6552
- My Sister’s Place DC: 202.529.5991
- Shelter House: 703.536.2155
- Legal Services of Northern Virginia (FREE): 778.6800 or email@example.com
- Alexandria Bar Association Lawyer Referral Service: 703.548.1106
- Fairfax Bar Association Lawyer Referral Service: 703.246.3780
- Virginia State Bar Lawyer Referral Service: 800.552.7977