Your medical and health concerns

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Many survivors have concerns about their health after a recent sexual assault.

Sexual assault Services can assist in planning medical care with doctors who are specially trained.

You can also see a GP at your clinic. Justice Health NSW can plan for you to go to the Emergency Department of the local hospital.

If you have injuries:

  • The most common injuries are bruises, muscle strain and scratches. These may not become obvious for a day or more after the assault.
  • A doctor can provide a check-up and advise about treatment and healing times.

It is important to seek medical attention as soon as possible if:

  • If you are bleeding
  • If you have pain
  • If you have been hit on the head or lost consciousness, or experienced choking.

Many women fear they may be pregnant, the morning after pill is available. It must be taken as soon as possible after the assault.

You may be concerned you have a sexually transmissible infection (STI). This is a concern for many survivors.

The risk of getting infections such as Hepatitis B, HIV, and Chlamydia from a sexual assault is usually low. However, the chance increases if the offender is from a high-risk group or where there are genital injuries.

Medications such as antibiotics and Hepatitis B vaccinations are available to prevent some STI’s. If there is a major concern about HIV, special medication can be made available. Again, these must be taken as soon as possible. Testing will be repeated 4-6 weeks after the assault.

The medical examination

After a sexual assault two types of medical exams may be performed.

You will need to attend:

  • A health check-up. This can be done at any time but is sometimes done at the same time as a forensic exam. This check-up lets you discuss your health concerns. It also helps to find and treat any injury. This can be done at your local health centre.
  • A forensic examination. This can only be done by a trained doctor or specialist nurse at a Sexual Assault Service. Corrective Services will escort you to have this exam at the local Sexual Assault Service. The purpose of the examination is to find any evidence and collect specimens. These may be used as evidence if charges are laid against the offender. It is important that the examination is performed within 72 hours. But it can be done up to a week after the sexual assault. The evidence is collected in a Sexual Assault Investigation Kit (SAIK).

In the forensic examination, the examiner will ask you to describe what happened. They will list the details and injuries as part of the SAIK.

They will then conduct a physical examination and collect specimens. Some of your clothes can also carry evidence and may be included in the SAIK.

If you choose to report the assault to the police, you may be asked to have the examination. This will help the investigation.

If you are unsure, you can still have the forensic examination. The Sexual Assault Service will hold onto the SAIK and wait for your decision.

If you decide not to report to police, the SAIK will be destroyed. The SAIK is only handed over to police with your signed consent.