Medical Advocacy

Our SASA staff can provide support, comfort and resources to survivors seeking medical help. Once you arrive at either Cooley Dickenson or University Health Services, the hospital staff will call for an advocate to: 
  • Help advocate for your needs with the hospital staff 
  • Explain sexual assault exams and evidence collection kits 
  • Share a grounding bag with fidget items, journal and resources  
  • Provide information so you can make informed decisions 
  • Support you and your family or friends who are at the hospital 
  • Provide a variety of resources for safety and support, including Victim’s Compensation.  
If you were sexually assaulted within the last five days you have these immediate choices: 
Get a free sexual assault exam (SANE kit) and evidence collection. What Is a SANE Kit?
You do not need to report to the police in order to have A SANE exam. To obtain a free sexual assault exam (SANE kit) you can go to Cooley Dickenson Emergency room or University Health Services.  When someone reports a rape at an emergency room services they are given the option to speak with a Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner (SANE) who is specially qualified to complete an Evidence Collection Kit (SANE Kit) with the survivor. These exams are always free. 
You can also get treatment to prevent pregnancy and/or for sexually transmitted infections.  
Emergency Contraception can help prevent pregnancy up to five days (120 hours) after the assault. It is available at your drugstore, through your primary care provider, or through Planned Parenthood or Tapestry Health Services (in western MA).  Treatment to prevent sexually transmitted infections and testing are available at Planned Parenthood, Tapestry Health Services and your primary care provider. 

SANE Kit - Survivors can get medical support without making a report or telling anyone else about their assault.

The SANE Kit is made to gather DNA evidence – such as bodily fluids, hair, and skin cells – and document injuries sustained during an attack.  DNA evidence must be collected within five days of an assault.  

What Can You Do? Preserving evidence keeps a survivor’s options open. If a survivor is considering pursuing legal charges there are steps to preserve the evidence a Sane Nurse can collect. 

If you choose to have an exam, try not to:

  • Bath or shower.
  • Use the restroom.
  • Change clothes. Or you can put the clothes you were wearing at the time of the assault into a paper bag and bring them with you to the hospital –the clothes will be taken as evidence.
  • Comb hair.
  • Clean up the crime scene.
  • Move anything the perpetrator may have touched.

If you have showered or eaten, there is still evidence that can be collected.

What to expect:

  • At  UHS or Cooley Dickinson, a specially trained Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner (SANE) will be contacted to perform the exam and collect evidence
  • UHS or Cooley Dickinson will also contact CWC for a Counselor Advocate who can meet you at the hospital, explain your options and provide support
  • Treatment to prevent pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections will be provided