What is a SAFE?
A Sexual Assault Forensic Examiner is a registered nurse or medical doctor who has been specifically trained to provide comprehensive care to patients of sexual violence. The SAFE member is specifically trained to identify physical trauma, to document injuries, to collect evidence and maintain the chain of custody, and to provide necessary referrals.
Duties of the SAFE include providing forensic medical exams for adults, pediatric patients, deceased patients, physical child abuse cases, and domestic violence cases. Provide SAFE education for nurses, be an active community member, build community relationships, collect, and report sexual assault statistics.
The role of the SAFE is to provide a compassionate and competent forensic-medical exam, collect evidence and provide crisis intervention.
Sexual assault is an all-too-common occurrence that affects both victims and their support systems.
We recognize the need to help sexual assault victims begin the healing process. A forensic medical exam can be done up to five days (120 hours) after the assault has occurred, but getting treatment sooner than later is best for the victim.
What to do if you are the victim of a sexually oriented crime:
Go immediately to a hospital, if you can, or call the authorities/911 and they will take you there.
Do Not change clothes, take a shower, brush your teeth, or removed from your person anything you were wearing at the time of the attack.
The hospital will immediately activate the Sexual Assault Response Team, and a member of the team will stay with you to coordinate and provide anything you might need.
You do not have to report the incident to police unless we are required by mandatory reporting laws, which only include victims under 18 years of age or disabled/elderly adults. If you are unsure about reporting, we suggest you have an unreported kit collected and receive medical treatment. An unreported kit will be labeled with a confidential code and can be held for up to one year.
The results of all exams, children, and adults, are not only for the immediate medical response need, but to provide law enforcement and the District Attorney’s Office with evidence for the prosecution of suspected offenders.
Do I have to pay for a SAFE exam?
No. You will not be charged for any part of your SAFE exam, including co-pays or deductibles. Submitting the visit to your insurance company is optional for private payers. There are also financial resources available for follow-up medical expenses through a confidential Crime Victim Reparations Program. Your SAFE nurse or medical advocate will provide additional information.