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Preserving Evidence

Q

I’m not sure if I want to report the assault. Is it OK to bathe and change my clothes?

A

You may want to preserve evidence even if you are not sure you want to report the assault. By preserving evidence now you are ensuring that it will be there if you choose to report the assault to the police. Preserving evidence by doing things like not washing can be very difficult in the aftermath of a sexual assault but preserving evidence gives you the opportunity to make important decisions in less traumatic circumstances.

Q

How do I preserve evidence?

A

You can preserve evidence at the scene by not cleaning or removing items at the scene.

You can preserve evidence on your body by...

  • not washing, douching, changing your clothes, combing your hair or brushing your teeth
  • not smoking, chewing gum, eating or drinking anything, including alcohol, drugs or medicines
  • “dripping-dry” or patting lightly if you must use the washroom

It is also important to write down everything you can about the incident as soon as possible. If you decide to report the incident to police this record will be valuable for the investigation and could also be used as evidence in court. Even if you don’t think you will report the assault to the police it is a good idea to do this if you can. Details may be harder to remember later and this way you will have a record that can be used if you decide to call the police.

Q

How long after an assault can medical evidence of the assault be collected?

A

You may have a sexual assault examination and collection of evidence up to 72-120 hours after an assault, depending on the local policy. However, the best opportunity for collecting usable evidence for the police is within the first 24 hours after a sexual assault.

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PLEA gratefully acknowledges our primary core funder the Law Foundation of Saskatchewan for their continuing and generous support of our organization.