You can have a SAFE exam up to five days after a sexual assault, but the sooner you
are able to get a SAFE exam, the more evidence can be collected. Try not to shower,
clean yourself, or urinate after an attack, but even if you have, don’t let that stop
you from getting to the hospital as soon as possible. A SAFE nurse will listen to
you about what happened, collect evidence, and have a medical provider take care of
any physical injuries. You can get medicine to prevent sexually transmitted infections
and pregnancy. The evidence collected can be sent directly to the police or held for
a later date. The amount of time evidence can be held varies by legal jurisdiction.
To preserve evidence after an assault and before a SAFE exam, place anything that
may contain physical evidence such as sheets, pillows, blankets, and the clothes you
were wearing (only if you have already taken them off, keep them on if possible) into
a paper bag and bring it with you to the hospital. If you are able to, avoid bathing,
showering, using the restroom, changing your clothes, combing your hair, putting on
any makeup, or cleaning up the area of the assault until after you have completed
the SAFE exam and/or finished filing a report. If you are able, you may want to bring
a clean change of clothes to wear after the SAFE exam.
Once you begin a SAFE exam, you can skip any part of the exam or stop at any time.
Having a SAFE exam does NOT mean you have to report to the police.
You may bring a friend or an advocate to the hospital with you, but only trained professionals
are allowed in the room during the exam. TurnAround provides free medical advocates that can talk you through the process beforehand,
accompany you to appointments, and assist you in any medical follow-up.
GBMC typically sees individuals who were assaulted in Baltimore County and Mercy Medical typically sees individuals who were assaulted in Baltimore City due to police jurisdiction.