Survivor Advocacy Services
What to Do After a Sexual Assault
It’s hard to know what to do, how to feel, or what your options are after a sexual assault. Please know that you’re not alone and you are NEVER to blame. Below you will find recommended actions immediately following a sexual assault.
IF YOU ARE IN THE MIDST OF ANY KIND OF EMERGENCY, IMMEDIATE HARM OR THREAT OF HARM, CALL 9-1-1
You Are Not Alone
Sexual assault counselors (also called victim or survivor advocates) are confidential and available to assist victims/survivors of sexual assault.
Note: Communications with sexual assault counselors/advocates are protected by state law per California Evidence Code Section §§1035.
Sexual assault counselors/advocates can assist by providing the following:
- Confidential, non-judgmental support
- Information about rights and options to help someone make an informed decision
- Help with reporting sexual assault to law enforcement which includes in-person accompaniments to the police station (the same support is also available for those that report sexual misconduct to the Title IX office)
- Information and accompaniments to sexual assault forensic exams (SAFE's) and other medical options
Sexual assault counselors/advocates are available on campus and at community-based sexual assault/rape crisis centers.
Note: If a campus-based sexual assault counselor/advocate cannot be reached, you may contact a community-based sexual assault/rape crisis center for immediate assistance. Community-based sexual assault counselors/advocates are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, by calling a hotline.
Fresno State Sexual Assault Counselors/Advocates
Services provided to all students, staff and faculty regardless of when/where the harm occurred
Services provided to all local campus and community members
|Department/Organization||Survivor Advocacy Services||Rape Counseling Services of Fresno|
|Contact Information||Phone: 559.278.6796 (24-Hour Hotline)
|24-Hour Hotline: 559.278.7273
|Location||Student Health and Counseling Center
5044 North Barton Avenue
Fresno, CA 93740
|259 North Blackstone Avenue
Fresno, CA 93701
National Sexual Assault Hotline
Hotline staff are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week via a national sexual assault hotline. Hotline staff can be contacted via phone at 800.656.4673, or online chat at their website, www.rainn.org.
Note: When calling the hotline your call will be directed to a local provider based on the
area code of the phone number you are calling from. If you are geographically located
in an area different from the area code of the phone number you are calling from,
hotline staff can still offer you support but may not have information regarding resources
in your location. If this is your situation, please call the 24/7 hotline at the sexual
assault/rape crisis center nearest you.
Additional Options for Support: Additional resources for support are available and include but are not limited to, mental health counseling and psychological services on-campus or community-based, your campus Title IX office, and the CSU's employee assistance program (EAP) are also available.
A law enforcement officer can take a report, help access confidential support, and provide access to medical care after a sexual assault. Police departments are available for response 24/7.
Sexual assaults can be reported at any time (immediately following, days or years after the incident). Statutes of limitations vary, depending on the type of crime/sexual assault and by state. The evidence available, investigations and treatment options may also be impacted by the length of time that has passed since the assault. A sexual assault counselor/advocate or law enforcement can provide you with specific information related to these factors.
Deciding to report a sexual assault to law enforcement is a very private a personal decision. It’s ok to report to police, not report, or not knowing if one wants to report. A sexual assault counselor/advocate can provide all information about reporting options so the victim/survivor can make an informed decision.
|Fresno State Police Department||Fresno Police Department|
|Coverage Area||Incidents that occurred on-campus||Incidents that occurred in the community surrounding campus|
|Contact Information||Phone Emergency: 9-1-1
|Phone Emergency: 9-1-1
|Location||2311 East Barstow Avenue
Fresno, CA 93740
|2323 Mariposa St. #2075
Fresno, CA 93721
|Hours of Operation||Monday through Sunday
24 Hours a Day
|Monday through Sunday
24 Hours a Day
More information about reporting sexual assault to law enforcement:
Sexual Assault Forensic Exam (SAFE)
Also known as "rape kits"
A sexual assault forensic exam (SAFE) could be used to collect DNA evidence if the assault occurred within 120 hours. Specialized sexual assault nurse examiners collect samples from a victim/survivor that may contain DNA evidence to help a potential prosecution.
A victim/survivor has the right to have a support person with them and can say no to any part of the exam.
If a person decides they want a SAFE, the sexual assault counselor/advocate can provide more detailed information and help coordinate response with police and the SAFE nurse.
There are two types of exams: a VAWA exam and evidentiary exam
|VAWA Exam||Evidentiary Exam|
|Report Requirement||Does not require police report||Requires police report|
|Who Helps Access Exam||This option is available through your campus sexual assault counselor/advocate as well as your local sexual assault/rape crisis center.||A police officer will schedule the exam.|
|Who are Exams For||These exams may be appropriate for those that are not ready to speak to and involve law enforcement. Evidence from VAWA exams in California must be preserved for two years in the event that a victim/survivor does want to engage with law enforcement.||These exams are appropriate for those that would like immediate law enforcement involvement. Evidentiary exams are intended to collect forensic evidence for use in criminal prosecution. An evidentiary exam is an option available by filing a report with law enforcement.|
|Level of Police Involvement||Police officers will not take a report and should not engage with the victim/survivor. However, the police department will collect the evidence kit and store it until (and if) the victim/survivor decides to file a police report/criminal charge.||
Police officers may:
Note about at-home rape kits: Although well-intentioned, evidence from at home “rape kits" may not be admissible for evidence.
Preserving clothing with potential DNA evidence:
Necessary evidence could be present in the clothes someone wore during the assault — this evidence can be preserved by being stored in paper bags (mold grows in plastic bags.) If the person decides to file a police report or obtain a sexual assault forensic exam (SAFE), the clothes can be provided to them for evidence collection.
More information about sexual assault forensic exams:
A sexual assault forensic exam is one way to preserve evidence, but it's not the only way. Here is a list of other evidence that can be preserved:
- Video – from door cameras, surveillance cameras, social media posts, etc.
- Names of people that may have information such as:
- Eyewitnesses – people who saw behavior or level of intoxication before the assault or witnessed the assault
- Outcry witnesses – people you told about what happened
- Any messages or communication with the perpetrator, including voicemails, texts, email and social media messaging (taking screenshots can be helpful)
- Information/documentation about or photos of injuries
- Receipts – showing where you were or what you were doing
It's ok if someone does not wish to file a police report or get a sexual assault forensic exam. That said, depending on the nature of the assault, it may still be important to obtain medical care to address potential injuries, exposure to sexually transmitted infections (STI's), or if there may be a risk of pregnancy.
A sexual assault counselor/advocate can help explore and address issues such as resources to help pay for medical care and confidentiality
Note: Emergency contraceptives are also available at local pharmacies without prescription.
Options for Medical Care: Sexual Assault Forensic Exam
Options for Medical Care Only
Community Regional Medical Center
Location: 2823 Fresno St, Fresno Ca 93721
Fresno State Student Health and Counseling Center
Location: 5044 N. Barton Avenue, Fresno, CA 93740
Family Healing Center
Location: 7025 N. Chestnut #102, Fresno, Ca 93720
Note: See above "Collecting Evidence" for more information.
St. Agnes Medical Center
Location: 1303 E Herndon Ave. Fresno, CA 93720
Location: 6095 N. 1st Street, Fresno, CA 93710
Note: Per California Penal Code §§11160, all medical providers in California are required to notify law enforcement when they are treating an injury caused by “abusive or assaultive" behavior. This means that a healthcare provider may need to make a police report if their patient discloses that the injury they are seeking treatment for was caused by abuse or assault. The victim/survivor, however, has the right to not speak to law enforcement or share additional information.
A sexual assault counselor/advocate can help someone navigate any potential report made by a medical provider. For example, if someone does not wish to report to law enforcement, the counselor/advocate can help say no to a police report without feeling intimidated.