Forensic Rape Exam Information
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.
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.
If a victim chooses 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 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.
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 in whether an investigation is performed or not.
Forensic Exam Guidelines for Primary and 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.
The Piedmont circuit has several exam locations and all sexual assault forensic (rape kit) exams are performed by SANE (sexual assault nurse examiners) nurses. The services provided are free to adult victims and are performed in a private setting. PRCC advocates can assist with accessing forensic exams. Please call the hotline: 770.586.5423