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The University strongly encourages survivors of any form of violence to seek medical attention as soon as possible, even if they feel no injury was sustained. Medical providers can treat visible physical injuries, identify injuries that may not be visible, and, where appropriate, also test for and treat sexually transmitted infections, test for pregnancy, and provide emergency contraception (if requested). In addition, a hospital can test for the presence of alcohol or drugs (e.g. “date rape” drugs) and perform a rape evidence collection procedure, which can help preserve legal options for those who are considering reporting their experience to law enforcement.

It is important to seek medical attention as soon as possible after any physical and/or sexual assault. Ideally, physical evidence should be collected immediately, but it should be collected no later than 96 hours following the incident. However, sexual assault services are available regardless of the duration of time since the assault occurred. 

Call University Health Services at 814.863.4463 to talk with a nurse about options for care or schedule your appointment online. You can also report to your local hospital emergency room for medical care and evidence collection.  If you or anyone else needs immediate medical attention, call 911.

I was sexually assaulted less than 96 hours ago, what should I do? 

If you need immediate assistance, call 911 or report to the emergency department. 

Victims of sexual assault (male or female) may have a non-evidence collection medical exam performed at University Health Services. At Mt. Nittany Medical Center, they may choose to have either an evidence collection exam or a non-evidence collection exam. For females, emergency contraception is usually offered at the time of either visit, in order to substantially reduce the risk for pregnancy.

Evidence Collection Exam

The Evidence Collection Exam, available at the Emergency Department at Mt. Nittany Medical Center, includes a thorough examination and any evidence of the assault found during the exam is collected (such as DNA from the perpetrator from the victim's body). This process includes a team approach involving a specially trained examiner, a police officer (from the jurisdiction where the assault occurred), and an advocate from the Women's Resource Center. All evidence collection exams require notifying police of the assault. An evidence collection exam is only done with the victim's written consent. Concerns about sexually transmitted infections and pregnancy (for females) are also addressed at the time of this exam. Emergency contraception is usually offered at the time of the visit to substantially reduce the risk for pregnancy.

Non-Evidence Collection Exam

The Non-Evidence Collection Exam is an option given to all victims of sexual assault. It involves an exam to look for any injuries or sexually transmitted infections. However, a non-evidence collection exam does not include the collection of evidence. Police are not usually notified of the circumstances of the assault when the victim elects a non-evidence collection exam unless there are inordinate injuries, the victim desires to report to police, a weapon is used during the assault, the assault was committed by a stranger, or the victim is under 18 years of age.

    I was sexually assaulted more than 96 hours ago, what should I do? 

    If it has been greater than 96 hours since the sexual assault, victims are still encouraged to undergo a non-evidence collection exam to address the issue of potential STIs and pregnancy. Call University Health Services to speak to a nurse about your options or make an appointment through myUHS. 

    How do I decide what type of exam I want? 

    Following is more information to help you make the decision between an evidence collection (forensic) exam and a non-evidence collection (non-forensic) exam. You can also call University Health Services at 814.863.4463 to talk with a nurse about options for care.

    Forensic Exam
    • Provided at Mount Nittany Medical Center
    • Provides medical evaluation and treatment to address risk of pregnancy, sexually transmitted infection, involuntary drugging or injuries related to this incident.
    • Specially trained healthcare providers will provide thorough, private, sensitive, confidential care and evidence collection.
    • A team approach (Sexual Assault Response Team) is used, which can include a Sexual Assault Victim Advocate for emotional support, a nurse examiner and a law enforcement officer. A physician is also part of the medical care team.
    • Costs for this initial diagnostic evaluation of sexual assault will be covered either through the PA Victims Compensation Program or Penn State. Penn State will pay for transportation to the emergency department and one related follow-up evaluation at University Health Services.
    • Provides the opportunity to collect and preserve evidence during a limited window of time (fewer than 96 hours from the incident of concern).
    • This is important if the case goes to court, a decision that you and/or the District Attorney can decide about later.
    • While a police report would be filed at the emergency department, you would not be required to speak with police if you prefer not to.
    • Filing a police report does not mean that you are choosing to press charges.
    • The focus of the police report is the concern of sexual assault. You need not fear that details of your drug or alcohol use would result in charges against you.
    • The thoroughness of care does require a time commitment. Four to six hours is not uncommon for this emergency room evaluation.
    • Delays in opting for this care can result in loss of evidence and may affect the ability of the criminal justice system to investigate and prosecute a case.
    Medical Care (Non-Forensic)
    • Can be provided at either Mt. Nittany Medical Center Emergency Department or University Health Services.
    • Provides medical evaluation and treatment to address risk of pregnancy, sexually transmitted infection, involuntary drugging or injuries related to this incident.
    • Specially trained healthcare providers will provide private, sensitive, confidential care.
    • Penn State will pay for first diagnostic evaluation of sexual assault and one related follow-up exam at University Health Services.
    • Affords the opportunity to document evidence found incidentally at the time of medical evaluation.
    • This exam does NOT include collection of DNA evidence to specifically assist in an investigation.
    • This documentation may prove inadequate if legal action is pursued in court.
    • Police are not usually notified unless there are inordinate injuries, you desire to report, a weapon is used during the assault, the assault was conducted by a stranger, or you are under 18 years of age.
    • You still retain the option of filing a police report at any later date.
    • Delays in reporting or talking to the police, especially extended delays, can result in loss of evidence and may affect the ability of the criminal justice system to investigate and prosecute a case.