Medical Options
If you have been assaulted physically, it is important to seek medical help. Taking care of your body is the first step in recovering control of your life. A medical exam can ascertain whether infection, sexual transmitted disease, pregnancy, internal injuries or shock are warranting further information. If you decide to report to law enforcement, a medical exam is required to gather vital evidence for prosecution and needs to be done as soon as possible after the assault.

Medical Care Can Be Provided in the Following Ways
The Sexual Assault Response Team (SART) conducts medical examinations for survivors of sexual assault. The team consists of specially trained female nurses, law enforcement representatives, and Rape Crisis Advocates. A report to law enforcement must be made prior to obtaining a medical exam from the SART team. If you decide to report the assault, you, a RCC Advocate, the emergency room staff, or any concerned person can contact law enforcement. After a report has been made SART nurses and RCC advocates are contacted. The examination and interview take place at Cottage Hospital in a private building used especially for sexual assault exams. State and local funds cover the cost of the medical exam.

Community Clinics and Private Doctors also provide medical care, often on a sliding fee scale. You are not required to report to law enforcement when you go to a clinic or doctor. In fact, you may choose to obtain medical care without providing information about the assault. However, if you talk with doctors and nurses about the assault, they are obliged to report this information to the law enforcement regardless of your age.

Legal Options
Sexual assault survivors report a wide range of experiences when dealing with the legal system. Some feel reporting the crime helps them regain control over their lives. Others feel traumatized by the legal process. Only you can make the decision to use the legal process. The Santa Barbara Rape Crisis Center will support your decision.

Legal Options Include
Reporting to Law Enforcement - If you choose to report, you can call law enforcement directly at 911 or ask a RCC Advocate to assist you in making the call. Once the call is made, a police officer, in uniform, will come meet with you and take a report. You have the right to have someone with you during the interview procedure. On request, a RCC Advocate can be with you. If you are considering a report to law enforcement do not douche, shower, bathe, change or destroy your clothes immediately following the assault. Most people want to clean up immediately after an assault. It is important to avoid doing so because vital evidence may be lost.

Anonymous Reporting - If you wish to report anonymously, you may do so. Some people want law enforcement to be aware of an assault and assailant but wish to remain anonymous. The Santa Barbara Rape Crisis Center will help you complete an anonymous victim report and will send copies to the appropriate agencies. Law enforcement will not make any arrests based on an anonymous report. However, the information may be helpful in investigating similar cases.

Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) - If you know your assailant and fear further contact, a TRO may provide you with added protection. TRO states that the assailant cannot call you, come near you, or in any other way harass you for the duration of the order. A TRO can be obtained through a private attorney or the Legal Aid Foundation. Once the assailant has been given notice of the restraining order, he can be arrested for violating any of its terms.

Not Reporting - You have the choice to not report. After you think about it you may decide to or decide never to report.

If you call the Santa Barbara Rape Crisis Center 546-3696, a trained advocate will talk with you about your rights and options in relation to medical and legal concerns. The advocate's primary role is to support you. She will give you as much information as you need and will support your decisions. If you decide to get medical care and/or report to the police, she can be with you through the entire procedure.

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