Immediate Steps for Victims and Survivors
If you are the victim or survivor of sexual assault, dating violence, domestic abuse, stalking, or similar assault or misconduct, the following steps should help you during the immediate aftermath of the incident:
If in immediate danger, call 911
Go to a safe place. If possible, go to a police or fire station. If you need medical assistance, seek an ER. If unable to do either, seek refuge at a public, well-lighted business, where you can call for help and can remain until emergency responders and/or a friend can come to your aid
If you are not ready to call 911, at least consider seeking medical assistance to: address injuries (both visible and hidden); screen for STDs (sexually transmitted diseases), pregnancy, and date rape drugs; obtain emergency contraception; and have documentation and other evidence collected in case you later elect to file for criminal charges or disciplinary complaints
Call a friend or a rape/domestic abuse crisis center; crisis centers often offer 24/7 hotlines as well as victim advocates who can help you
To better ensure that medical personnel can collect effective DNA and other evidence, follow these steps:
Avoid combing or brushing your hair.
Do not change clothes. If you cannot avoid changing clothes, carefully place each item of clothing in a clean paper bag (if possible, use one bag per item); do not bathe, shower, or wash any part of your body; do not brush your teeth or otherwise clean/rinse your mouth; do not eat or drink anything.
If possible, do not urinate.
Avoid moving, cleaning, changing, or touching anything that is part of the crime scene. A crime scene can be an indoor or outdoor location and can be either stationary or mobile. Sometimes there is more than one crime scene.
Try not to touch or move anything the offender may have come into contact with.
Other Helpful Resources
There are several helpful resources that provide advice on the immediate steps a victim or survivor can take. These can be accessed online, by phone, or in person. Many offer 24/7 and/or confidential assistance. Examples include:
Genesis House https://www.genesishouseinc.com/getting-help
Sexual Assault Center http://www.sacenter.org/heal/crisis-support.aspx
Tennessee Coalition to End Sexual & Domestic Violence https://www.tncoalition.org
Tennessee District Attorneys "Domestic Violence" https://www.tndagc.org/
Jane Doe, Inc. (under the Massachusetts Coalition Against Sexual and Domestic Violence) http://www.janedoe.org/