PHOENIX - In support of Sexual Assault Awareness Month this April, the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office wants the public to know that victims of sexual assault can receive a free forensic medical examination.
“Sexual assault survivors need to be assured that it’s not their fault,” said Bill Montgomery. “The closer in time to the assault that an exam is conducted, the better chance there is to find evidence. Receiving a medical examination and preserving this evidence can be crucial to aiding possible prosecution and preventing future assaults.”
If you or someone you know has been the victim of sexual assault, report the incident to police as soon as possible. But even if you don’t want the police to be involved, you can call Honor Health—which employs medical personnel specially-trained to conduct forensics exams—directly at (480) 312-6339 to arrange a free forensic exam. A victim can also receive referrals for any additional medical treatment needed and counseling services that are available.
Exams are conducted by medical professionals with specialized training in forensics. They are intended to provide medical evaluation and treatment for sexual assault survivors and to collect and document important evidence which may assist in the criminal justice process. The availability of evidence to assist in prosecution can help prevent further assaults by the perpetrator.
In order to ensure a thorough investigation, victims of sexual assault should not eat, drink, change clothes, take a shower or bath, nor should they change anything at the location of the attack. They should not erase texts, emails or voicemails from the person suspected of committing the assault.
“By informing the public of these free exams and the availability of medical attention and counseling services, I hope to encourage survivors to seek help and begin the path of healing,” said Montgomery.
Throughout the month of April, MCAO will be providing information to the public on the prevalence of sexual assault, its impact on individuals and families, and resources for victims and their loved ones.