Safe Harbor Forensic Nurses, through Safe Harbor Crisis
Safe Harbor Forensic Nurses are committed to providing trauma-informed and patient-centered care to survivors of sexual assault. Our nurses provide free sexual assault examinations to survivors, including medical care, STI preventative medications, emergency contraception and timely evidence collection and documentation of the sexual assault to help aid in the investigation and prosecution.
Call Safe Harbor’s Crisis Line (801) 444-9161 to dispatch a Safe Harbor Forensic Nurse and a crisis advocate to respond to the exam. A nurse will contact you to coordinate details.
Questions about the Safe Harbor Forensic Nurse program? Contact the Director of Forensic Nurses, Shawna Bryant, via email at firstname.lastname@example.org
EXAMS PROVIDED IN 2023
Since the inception of Safe Harbor Forensic Nurses in 2019, our nurses have been committed to providing trauma-informed and patient-centered care to survivors of sexual assault and intimate personal violence. Throughout the past 3 years, we have conducted a total of 176 exams that come through our 24-hour crisis line. Since 2019, exam requests have increased by 25%. As of September 2023, Safe Harbor nurses provided 66 exams for the calendar year.
When and how can I request a sexual assault examination?
Sexual assault examinations are typically completed within 6 days or 144 hours after an assault has occurred. If you have been assaulted and would like to request an exam please contact the Safe Harbor Crisis Line at (801) 444-9161.
What should I expect from a sexual assault examination?
Sexual assault examinations provide medical care, STI preventative medications, emergency contraception, documentation of the assault and evidence collection. Evidence collection could include swabbing for DNA, collecting clothing or other trace evidence and blood and urine. Evidence collected can help aid in the investigation and prosecution of sexual assault cases. Sexual assault examinations can take anywhere from 2 – 4 hours. A sexual assault crisis advocate will respond with the survivor to the sexual assault examination to provide emotional support and resources to help survivors begin the process of healing. Sexual assault services can be continued through Safe Harbor Crisis Center following the sexual assault examination to help lessen the long-term and emotional complications from sexual violence.
What if I think I was drugged during my sexual assault?
Drugs used to facilitate sexual assault can be found in the blood or urine. The forensic nurse can collect blood and urine as evidence so that it can later be tested for substances used to facilitate sexual assault. It is important to request a sexual assault examination as soon as possible, as evidence in the blood and urine is lost over time.
What STI preventative medications are offered?
Preventative STI medications are offered for Chlamydia, Gonorrhea, Trichomonas and HIV. Patients can also receive emergency contraception (plan B).
What happens to my evidence after the sexual assault examination?
Evidence collected will be turned over to law enforcement. The law enforcement agency has 30 days to turn evidence into the Utah State Crime Lab or Utah State Toxicology Lab to be analyzed (unless you have a restricted kit).
What if I am not ready to speak with law enforcement or what is a restricted kit?
Nurses are mandatory reporters and must report basic information about all sexual assaults to the appropriate police department. Although law enforcement will be aware of the assault, a survivor is not required to communicate with them if they don’t want to. It is important to know that by delaying or declining to communicate with law enforcement it may be more difficult, if not impossible, for law enforcement to investigate and for a prosecutor to file charges against the suspect.
A restricted kit is when a survivor chooses not to have their evidence sent to the crime lab for testing and processing. In this case, the medical forensic exam paperwork is not given to law enforcement and the kit is kept locked in police department evidence for a minimum of 20 years or until the victim requests it be unrestricted. A survivor can un-restrict their kit at any time by contacting the police department, at which point the kit will be sent to the crime lab and law enforcement will have access to the exam paperwork. Even if evidence isn’t collected or a kit is restricted, law enforcement may be obligated by law to investigate and may attempt to contact you. Again, regardless of kit restriction status you are not required to communicate with law enforcement if you don’t want to.
What is the cost to a sexual assault examination?
Sexual assault examinations are free. Patients / survivors will not be charged for services. The Utah Office for Victims of Crime pays for all sexual assault exams in the State of Utah.
Want to speak with an advocate about your options?
Contact the Safe Harbor Crisis Line to be directed to a sexual assault advocate. (801) 444-9161.