Preserve Evidence

Evidence collected from a sexual assault can be a powerful tool in a criminal prosecution, if the victim chooses to file a police report. While evidence can be collected and preserved via medical examinations, victims can take steps to preserve evidence as well. For more specific information, please see our Forensics, Rape Kits, Medical Information page.

Medical Exams

Medical examinations are important for injuries that are undetectable, emergency contraception and testing/treatment for sexual transmitted diseases.

Evidence Collection Exam or “Rape Kit”

You can ask to have an evidence collection exam at the hospital. Evidence can be collected even if you choose not to report to the police. Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner’s (SANE) are specifically trained for this purpose and can be found at:

  • Harborview Medical Center
  • UW Medicine entities, including Northwest Hospital, UW Medical Center and Valley Medical Center
  • Seattle Children’s Hospital
  • Swedish First Hill. To be expanded to all Swedish sites.
  • Evergreen Hospital

Toxicology Kit

If you suspect that you have been drugged, ask the medical provider about a toxicology kit which tests blood and urine.

Steps to Preserve Evidence

Try not to do any of the following immediately after a sexual assault:

  • Shower, bathe, use the restroom, douche, comb your hair or brush your teeth
  • Change clothes – if you do, put the clothes into paper bags
  • Clean up the crime scene or move anything the offender may have touched

Last Updated November 18, 2020