skip to Main Content
Call 800-359-5690 for a FREE Consultation

Experiencing sexual assault is a deeply traumatic event that can leave survivors feeling overwhelmed, confused, and unsure of what steps to take next. At The Carlson Law Firm, we understand the importance of providing compassionate and effective legal support to survivors of sexual assault.

Taking on an abuser can be an intimidating and seemingly uphill battle. Often, by the time you’re ready to seek justice, evidence can be long gone. Still, there are steps you can take to obtain justice both criminally and in civil court.

Ensuring Immediate Safety

The first priority after a sexual assault is to ensure your immediate safety. This can be challenging given the circumstances, but taking these initial steps is critical.

Find a Safe Place

As soon as possible, get to a safe location away from the perpetrator. This could be your home, a friend’s house, or a public place where you feel secure. Being in a safe environment can help you feel more in control and ready to take the next steps.

Contact Emergency Services

If you are in immediate danger or need urgent medical attention, call 911. Law enforcement can provide protection and ensure you receive necessary medical care.

Preserving Evidence

Preserving evidence is crucial for any legal action you choose to take. Even if you’re unsure about reporting the assault immediately, it’s important to keep your options open by maintaining evidence.

Avoid Showering or Changing Clothes

While it may be tempting to wash away any physical remnants of the assault, preserving evidence is crucial for legal proceedings. Avoid showering, bathing, or changing clothes until after a medical examination. If you do change clothes, place the ones you were wearing in a paper bag (not plastic) to preserve them.

Keep the Scene Intact

If possible, leave the scene of the assault untouched. Avoid cleaning or altering the area where the assault occurred, as it may contain vital evidence.

Document Everything

Write down every detail you can remember about the assault, including descriptions of the perpetrator, the location, and any witnesses. This information can be invaluable for your case. Keeping a detailed record can also help law enforcement and legal professionals piece together the events and build a strong case.

Seeking Medical Attention

Getting medical care is not only important for your health, but also for collecting crucial evidence.

Visit a Hospital or Clinic

Go to the nearest hospital or sexual assault crisis center for a medical examination. Healthcare professionals can treat injuries, test for sexually transmitted infections, and collect forensic evidence.

Get a Sexual Assault Forensic Exam

Request a sexual assault forensic exam (SAFE), also known as a rape kit. This exam is crucial for collecting evidence and documenting injuries, which can support your legal case. Trained medical professionals will handle the process with care and sensitivity.

Follow-Up Medical Care

Schedule follow-up appointments with healthcare providers to monitor your physical health and address any ongoing medical needs. This might include follow-up tests for STIs, pregnancy, and other health concerns related to the assault.

Reporting the Assault

Deciding to report the assault can be a difficult decision, but it is an important step toward seeking justice and preventing further harm.

Contact Law Enforcement

Report the assault to the police. They will conduct an investigation, collect evidence, and work to identify and apprehend the perpetrator. You can request a police officer to come to your location or go to a police station to file the report.

File a Report

Provide a detailed statement to law enforcement, including all the information you documented. This report will be a critical component of your case. Be as detailed as possible, including any physical or verbal interactions with the perpetrator.

Consider a Protective Order

If you fear for your safety, you may request a protective order against the perpetrator. This legal order can restrict their contact with you and help ensure your safety. Your attorney can assist you in obtaining this order.

Seeking Legal Assistance

Navigating the legal system can be daunting, but with the right legal support, you can pursue justice effectively.

Consult an Attorney

Contact a skilled attorney who specializes in sexual assault cases. At The Carlson Law Firm, our experienced legal team is dedicated to advocating for survivors and helping them navigate the legal system. An attorney can provide you with a clear understanding of your rights and options.

Understand Your Rights

Your attorney will explain your rights, the legal process, and the options available to you. This may include pursuing criminal charges, filing a civil lawsuit, or seeking compensation through a victim compensation fund.

Gather Evidence

Work with your attorney to gather all necessary evidence, including medical records, police reports, and witness statements. This will strengthen your case and increase your chances of achieving justice. Your attorney will guide you through this process, ensuring that all relevant evidence is collected and preserved.

Emotional and Psychological Support

Healing from a sexual assault involves more than just physical recovery; emotional and psychological support is equally as important.

Seek Counseling

Connect with a mental health professional who specializes in trauma and sexual assault. Counseling can provide essential emotional support and help you process the trauma. Many survivors find therapy to be a crucial part of their healing journey.

Join Support Groups

Consider joining a support group for sexual assault survivors. Sharing your experiences with others who understand can be incredibly healing and empowering. Support groups offer a sense of community and understanding that can be very beneficial.

Practice Self-Care

Prioritize self-care and engage in activities that promote healing and well-being. This may include exercise, meditation, journaling, or spending time with loved ones. Taking care of your physical and emotional health is vital during this time.

Reach Out for Support

Contact a trusted friend or family member for emotional support. Having someone you trust by your side can provide comfort and help you make clear decisions in a difficult time.

Moving Forward

Moving forward after a sexual assault is a gradual process that involves rebuilding your sense of safety and control.

Develop a Safety Plan

Work with your support network and attorney to develop a safety plan that addresses your ongoing security and well-being. This might include changing your locks, varying your routine, and taking other steps to ensure your safety.

Stay Informed

Stay informed about your case and the legal process. Your attorney will keep you updated on developments and provide guidance on what to expect. Being informed can help you feel more in control and prepared for the journey ahead.

Advocate for Yourself

Empower yourself by advocating for your needs and rights. Whether it’s in the courtroom, with law enforcement, or in your personal life, your voice matters. Speaking up for yourself and making your needs known can be a powerful step toward healing.

We Care, We Can Help

Taking these steps after a sexual assault can be incredibly challenging, but they are crucial for your safety, healing, and pursuit of justice. Finding an attorney dedicated to helping you through a trying time is crucial to a recovery. A victim’s sexual assault attorney can help you recover the money you deserve to assist in paying for medical treatment, mental health care and other damages caused by your attack. 

Back To Top