Sexual Assault Medical Treatment

Sexual Assault Medical Treatment

It is important to seek medical treatment immediately after and as a follow-up to sexual assault to determine the presence of physical injury, sexually transmitted diseases, pregnancy, and to obtain evidence to assist in criminal prosecution. Ideally, physical evidence should be collected immediately, but it should be collected no later than 96 hours following a sexual assault.

Immediate Emergency Services

Within the first 96 hours after an assault, a special exam should be conducted that includes the collection of evidence that may be used in criminal prosecution. This exam is recommended to evaluate your physical condition as well as maintain your legal options. The exam is performed by an emergency department physician. A forensic nurse is present throughout the procedure, and a same-sex friend, family member, and/or advocate also may be present. The exam is available to students through the Heritage Valley Health System in Beaver.

If there is suspicion of us of a drug in order to incapacitate you or alter judgement, the attending physician should be informed during the exam in order to determine the type of drug taken.

Emergency Contraception

For female victims of sexual assault with a risk of pregnancy emergency contraception is available over the counter at most pharmacies and should be taken as soon as possible and within 5 days. Prescription or medically provided emergency contraception is also available and may be a more effective option between 48 and 120 hours following an assault.

Cost

In hopes of removing cost or privacy issues as a barrier to care, Penn State will work with students to facilitate payment for the provision of medical care. The Pennsylvania's Victim Compensation Fund will pay for the first routine diagnostic sexual assault evaluation (as defined by CDC guidelines), transportation costs (taxi/ambulance) and one related follow-up evaluation, for all Penn State students when the exam is completed at the Heritage Valley Health System in Beaver within 96 hours following the assault.

Non-emergency Medical Procedures

If the sexual assault occurred in the recent or distant past and an emergency exam was not conducted within the first 96 hours, it is still important to have a medical exam. This exam will include treatment of any physical problems and various lab tests for sexually transmitted diseases and pregnancy. This non-emergency treatment can be arranged through Campus Health Services, or by contacting your personal physician. 

The Campus Health Center is located in Room 104, Main Floor, Ross Administration Building (RAB).  The campus Nurse can provide non-emergency medical care between the hours of 8:ooam – 5:00pm, Monday through Friday.  The Nurse can assist in off-campus referral if there has been a sexual assault and/or injury as a result of relationship violence. 

For student medical response after the Health Center is closed, students can contact Penn State Police at 724-773-3888 or dial 911 for Beaver County dispatch and request Medic Rescue ambulance.  Penn State police officers are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Transportation

There are several ways to get to the hospital. An ambulance can always be reached by dialing 911 for Beaver County dispatch and request Medic Rescue ambulance.  Penn State Police can be reached at 724-773-3888.   Taxis and friends are other alternatives. If possible, do not drive to the hospital by yourself. 

Follow-up Care

After the initial examination, it is critical that a victim receive follow-up care. The testing done immediately after an assault or within a few days does not necessarily identify all potential problems. A follow-up examination and testing conducted two weeks after the assault afford the opportunity to find medical problems such as infections that may have gone undetected during the initial exam. Consult with a personal physician and the campus health nurse regarding follow-up exams.