Skip to main content

Forensic Exams

NOTE: This page contains information about how to get a Sexual Assault Forensic Exam. All victims of sexual assault are strongly encouraged to preserve and document evidence because it may assist in pursuing a criminal case and/or a protective order. If you have been sexually assaulted, please review our resources webpage to learn more about your options for confidential support and reporting.

Getting a forensic exam can bring up a lot of questions. We want to make sure you have all the information you need right away and fully understand the process. If you have questions, you are welcome to call a Title IX administrator at OKCU or the YWCA’s sexual assault hotline for more information. That hotline is (405) 943-7273.

You can ask OKCU or the YWCA any questions you have without giving your name or contact information if you’d prefer to talk anonymously.

Procedure

  • If you have been sexually assaulted, it is important to preserve evidence that can be used in criminal, civil, or campus proceedings. You are strongly encouraged to complete a forensic exam as soon as possible, ideally within 24 hours, and avoid showering, changing clothes, brushing your teeth, or eating until after the exam. Evidence may still be available after 24 hours and if you have eaten, showered, brushed your teeth, or changed clothes, up to or around five days after the sexual assault. Even if 24 hours has passed, you can still undergo a forensic exam.
  • To start the process, the victim calls the YWCA Sexual Assault hotline and say that they need to get a forensic exam. The YWCA will let them know which hospital to go to.
  • Transportation to the hospital can be provided by Oklahoma City police. Emergency Medical Services can also provide transportation (i.e., an ambulance). It is up to the victim to decide how they want to get there.
  • When the victim arrives, hospital staff will provide a private waiting room when they learn why the victim is there at check-in.
  • The YWCA immediately dispatches an advocate and a Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner to that hospital. They are trained to arrive within one hour.
  • Before the forensic exam, hospital staff may need to medically clear the victim. This means they may look for other injuries, whether or not they are related to the assault, that would require emergency care.
  • When the advocate and nurse arrive and after the victim is medically cleared, they will conduct the forensic exam. Part of the exam may include pregnancy testing and STI counseling as appropriate.
  • Due to confidentiality restrictions, anyone other than the nurse, advocate, and victim will not be allowed in the room where the forensic exam is conducted. Anyone accompanying the victim will be asked to wait in the hospital’s waiting room until the forensic exam is finished. The only exception to this is if that person has completed training on victim advocacy hosted by the Oklahoma Attorney General’s office and been certified. If they are certified in the state as an advocate, they can accompany the victim through the exam.
  • If the victim is 18 or over, the exam is conducted anonymously and afterward, the victim is asked but not obligated to provide contact information. It is also their choice whether police are called to the hospital. If the victim is under 18, the police must be called and identifying information must be shared.
  • If the victim is 18 or over and chooses to provide contact information, they will receive a follow-up call approximately one week after the hospital visit to remind them of information discussed during the exam including information about pregnancy and STIs.

Financial Impact

  • It is free in the state of Oklahoma to obtain a forensic exam. No cost for the exam will be imposed upon the victim or their family.
  • If medical services are provided by the hospital before the exam, the victim may be charged for the cost of those services.
  • If medical services are provided based on injuries that occurred during and/or as a result of the sexual assault, the victim may be eligible for reimbursement through the state’s crime victim compensation program. The advocate accompanying the victim in the hospital will be able to provide details about this option.
  • The cost of using Emergency Medical Services for transportation to the hospital may also be eligible for reimbursement through crime victim compensation. The advocate can provide details about this as well. 
  • It may be very concerning for a victim to have a hospital bill related to a forensic exam sent to their parents before the victim can speak with them about the issue. If the victim is concerned about this possibility, they are strongly encouraged to discuss their options for billing with their advocate.

Use of Records in OKCU’s Grievance Procedure

  • OKCU can incorporate the results of a sexual assault forensic exam into a Title IX investigation file. Whether OKCU can have access the results of the exam is the victim’s choice.  
  • To request a copy of their forensic exam results, the victim must fill out a Release of Document form through the YWCA. This may require an in-person visit. On that form, the victim can choose which parts of the exam will be released. They can also choose whether they want the results released to themselves or an OKCU official.
  • If the victim requests the forensic exam results be released to themselves, they can pick up the requested documentation in-person from the YWCA. They can then make a copy to give to their investigator. They can also ask the investigator to make a copy of the documentation and return the original to them.
  • If the victim requests the exam results be released to a University official, the official can pick up the documentation in-person from the YWCA.
  • If documentation obtained during a forensic exam is used during an investigation, University officials will redact any unnecessary and identifying information available in the SANE record, including address, phone number, etc.
  • Documentation from a forensic exam is generally available within 24 hours after a Release of Document form is submitted to the YWCA. In some cases, it may take up to a few days depending on staff availability as well as the specific documentation requested (usually including photos will increase the time it will take for the results to become available).