Legal Rights: Adult victims in the state of Georgia have the right to a free and confidential forensic exam (rape exam) and are to be allowed access to a free and confidential exam in the state of Georgia, whether the victim desires law enforcement involvement or not. O.C.G.A. § 17-5-72
Time Since Assault: Best practice for adult victims from time of assault to time of disclosure and request for exam is up to 120 hours for collecting forensic evidence.
Non-Report Exam: If a victim chooses to have a “Non-report” (no law enforcement involvement) forensic exam, the evidence collected during that exam is appropriately placed in the care of the law enforcement agency where the crime occurred. That agency will keep the evidence up to one calendar year. If during that time, the victim decides they want an investigation, then the evidence is processed and an investigation would begin.
Report Exam: If a victims’ choses to have a “Report” Exam Forensic Exam, then the responding participants would include law enforcement, SANE (sexual assault nurse examiner) and an advocate. Although the roles and responsibilities are unique and specific, the goal of this response is to be victim centered and is considered best practice for victims of sexual violence.
PRCC Advocates: PRCC staff and advocates are available when a victim discloses, whether a victim chooses to report or not; have a non-report exam or a report exam; or a victim/patient simply desires to have an advocate present, or have access to information. This response will help empower victims to make sound decisions regarding options available as it pertains to them.
Initial Response: It is most common for hospital facilities to be mandated reporters and will initially contact law enforcement, per their individual protocols and procedures. However, the victim still gets the final say so in whether an investigation is performed or not.
Forensic Exam Guidelines
For Primary & Secondary Victims
There is no right or wrong response after a sexual assault has occurred. This life altering crime is motivated by power, control and the need to humiliate another. Everyone responds and reacts differently and victims of this heinous crime most often find themselves confused, shocked, fearful and very uncertain about what was just forced upon them.
A forensic medical examination (rape exam) option is available to victims whether you choose to report it or not. A forensic medical examination is an exam specifically designed to collect evidence left behind by the perpetrator. The choice to have this exam is a hard one to make when an assault has happened, but can often be helpful in the healing process and time is of the essence.
All adult sexual assault forensic (rape kit) exams are performed by SANE (sexual assault nurse examiners) nurses within the Northeast Georgia Medical Center in Gainesville Georgia. The services provided there are free to adult victims and are performed in a private setting within Northeast Georgia Medical. Services are easily accessible when the process is followed.
For adult victims of sexual violence, they get to make the final decision regarding the next steps and what is best for them. Below are guidelines for accessing services when a forensic rape exam is needed. Feel free to contact PRCC Hotline at 770-586-5423 for additional information and support and advocacy.
Non-Report Exam; Forensic Rape Exam without Law Enforcement Involvement
Report Exam; Forensic Rape Exam with Law Enforcement Involvement; Prosecution desired