If you’ve been sexually assaulted or had an unwanted sexual experience, SAFE can help, regardless of your age, gender identity, sexual orientation or immigration status. It is never your fault.
SAFE forensic nurses and advocates are not affiliated with law enforcement and can answer your questions. These specially qualified and trauma-informed first responders will put your needs first. Call 512.267.SAFE (7233), text 737.888.7233 or chat HERE with our 24/7 SAFEline to talk with an advocate or nurse about how we can best support you. Forensic exams are always free.
You have options.
Evidence collection WITH a report to law enforcement
If you are a member of/in a *protected population, we are required by law to report to the police, if you haven’t already done so.
SAFE advocates and nurses can help you start the process of reporting to law enforcement. If you have already reported, SAFE nurses can collect evidence in an evidence collection kit to send to law enforcement. This option is available for up to 5 days after an assault.
Evidence collection WITHOUT a report to law enforcement
You can collect and save evidence while you think about reporting. Adults 18 years or older in Texas are able to have evidence collected and stored for 5 years. Your evidence collection kit will not be tested unless you decide to report to police. This option is available for up to 5 days after an assault.
This option is not available for members of *protected populations (*under the age of 18, 65 years old or older, or have a disability that substantially limits a major life activity).
Community Resources and Safety Planning
Confidential advocates at SAFE can help with your immediate needs, risk assessment and provide referrals to resources such as follow-up care, housing and lease breaking, counseling, delayed reporting and more. Our team of compassionate advocates can help guide you through your options before speaking with law enforcement and can continue to assist you after the exam. This option has no expiration date.
Nurses at SAFE can provide preventativemedicine for common sexually transmitted infections. SAFE’s nurses can consult and make referrals for strangulation and/or HIV PEP. This option is available for up to 10 days after an assault.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: How much does this all cost?
A: You can choose a freeexam at SAFE’s forensic clinic, Eloise House, with our compassionate qualified nurses. If there are any parts of the exam you are uncomfortable with, you can skip them.
Q: What if I’ve already showered or brushed my teeth?
A: If you have already changed clothes, showered, brushed your teeth, or had something to eat or drink, that is okay! If you have not done these things, it may help to save evidence if you wait until after your exam. However, we want you to be as physically comfortable as possible.
Q: Can my own doctor do the exam?
A: You can see your own doctor for medications to prevent sexually transmitted infections and to check to make sure you’re okay. However, your own doctor is not specially trained to collect evidence.
Q: Do I need to go to the hospital?
A: In most/many cases, people affected by sexual assault or rape do not require the level of care provided by an emergency department and can receive care at a regular doctor’s office or clinics. If you think you have medical needs aside from the options we can provide, we recommend going to an emergency department. If you do choose to go to a hospital for care, SAFE advocates may be able to accompany you in person or meet with you by phone, video, or text. Call our 24/7 SAFEline if you would like to connect with an advocate.
Q: What can I expect during an evidence collection exam?
A: Here is some of what you can expect during an evidence collection exam.
Medical history: These are questions about your health, just like going to a regular doctor’s appointment.
History of assault: This is the part of the exam where you use your own words to say what happened. It helps the nurse understand where evidence can be collected.
Physical evidence collection: Only if it is ok with you, physical evidence can be collected and injuries if there are any can be documented.
STI and pregnancy prevention: If you choose, we can offer medicines that can prevent sexually transmitted infections or reduce the possibility of pregnancy.
Safety planning: If there is something that feels complicated or scary to you, we can share ideas and resources that might help you feel safer and more supported.
HIV Prevention: We can also refer you to KIND Clinic, where they can prescribe you with PEP to protect against and reduce the risk of contracting HIV.
You can choose what you do during an exam, regardless of reporting status or age.
Q: If I don’t remember for sure, can you tell me if something happened?
A: It’s normal to not remember or have periods of time when you aren’t sure what happened. While we can find evidence and document injuries, physical exams by themselves can’t prove whether or not something happened. See “When will I know the results of my exam?” below.
Q: How can I find out if I was drugged?
A: If you think you might have been drugged, we can collect blood and/or urine if you choose to report your experience to law enforcement. Some people choose to use home drug tests or ask to have their blood tested at a hospital. It is important to know that these tests may not detect the drugs you were given and may or may not be useable as legal evidence.
Q: When will I know the results of my exam?
A: Under Texas law, exam kits (sometimes called “rape kits”) must be analyzed within 90 days if there is adequate personnel and if you choose to report to law enforcement. There is a program that allows you to track your kit’s location and progress online.