Forensic/SANE Exams

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Content warning: This page contains information about relationship and sexual violence.

Forensic/SANE exams are done through local hospitals. They can be performed up to 120 hours after the assault. An exam typically takes about three hours. While forensic exams are invasive, they are done to protect you. If interested, a RSVP counselor can accompany you to this exam.

The initial part of the exam consists of an interview. This the Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner (SANE) will ask you to tell about the assault. The SANE will ask you specific questions concerning details of the assault. It is always your choice not to answer any question or questions about the assault, but the more information the SANE can have concerning the assault, the more thorough the examination can be.

The second part of the exam is a physical exam. For females, it is very similar to a well-woman exam. Swabs will be obtained from the pelvic area and a speculum exam is done if indicated. For all genders, this exam may also consist of swabbing with a cotton applicator any other areas of the body indicated in the interview. An alternative light source may be used to look for saliva or semen on the body to obtain swabs from those areas as well. A thorough exam may also require nail clipping, hair samples, and photographs, all of which are completely confidential. If available, the SANE will ask for clothing worn during or immediately following the assault to be sent with the kit as evidence.

The final part of the exam is a blood and urine collection. If the interview indicates a possible Drug Facilitated Assault, blood and urine samples will be obtained and sent with the evidence kit.

Sexual Assault Response Team Support

Students who have been victimized and would like to receive hospital care have 24/7 assistance from Washington University through RSVP Center counseling staff or WUPD. Additionally, Washington University in St. Louis has a collaborative relationship with the YWCA’s on-call Sexual Assault Response Team (SART). WashU has made special arrangements with SART to provide confidential assistance and support to the WashU community at local hospitals in the event of sexual assault. The Washington University Police Department (WUPD) or the Habif Health and Wellness Center can contact SART for you if desired. If you have not asked WUPD or Habif to contact SART, many hospitals will automatically contact SART if you disclose the reason for your visit is sexual assault. Know the volunteers serve the hospitals listed and are available to you whether or not you specifically request assistance.

The SART volunteer will meet you at the hospital and offer support and review a range of options and services. One of these services is to provide support during a forensic exam.

WashU’s Support Team

Relationship and Sexual Violence Prevention (RSVP) Center
314-935-3445 (weekday office hours). 24/7 emergency via Provident WashU (314-935-6666), WUPD (314-935-5555) or SARAH peer counseling during the academic year (314-935-8080).
Contact RSVP Center by email
RSVP counselors work directly with students to provide crisis counseling, explanation of options and assistance regarding past or current relationship or sexual violence.

314-935-8088 or 314-935-5555 (WUPD)
WUPD is a 24-hour, 12-month resource committed to assisting survivors of sexual assault. If you feel you are a victim of a sex crime on campus, WUPD will guarantee respectful treatment.

Gender Equity and Title IX Compliance Office

Jessica W. Kennedy
Director & Title IX Coordinator

Cynthia M. Copeland
Assistant Director & Associate Title IX Coordinator

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