Get Immediate Help!
- Off-Campus: 911
- On-Campus: 412.396.2677 (Duquesne University Police)
- Go Directly to Mercy Hospital: 412.232.8222
Steps to take after a Sexual Assault
- Your safety is most important! Attempt to get to a safe place as quickly as possible and get medical attention.
- It is important to preserve all physical evidence. DO NOT bathe, shower, or douche. If oral sex was involved you should not brush your teeth, drink, or smoke. These activities will destroy evidence. While it is best that you report as soon as possible to have an evidence kit collected. DNA can be retrieved sometimes up to 7 days.
- You have the choice of contacting the Duquesne University Police Department (412.396.2677) or going directly to Mercy Hospital where specialized nurses are prepared to assist you as you move forward.
- If you have an evidence kit collected, you may choose to prosecute the person who attacked you or you can wait and make that decision later. What is important is the kit is collected and is there if you decide to prosecute.
- You should not change clothes before seeking medical treatment. Either wear the original clothes that you wore when the incident occurred or take the soiled clothes in a paper bag to the hospital. The clothing will be kept as evidence.
- Victims of sexual assault are encouraged to seek immediate medical treatment (Mercy Emergency Room, 412.232.8222) to collect the DNA evidence and to assess for sexually transmitted infection, injury, or pregnancy.
- It is important to know that although hospitals are required to report any injuries which are the result of a crime when a weapon is used, this does not mean that the victim must file charges. Any victim can pursue legal action. However, it is difficult to collect physical evidence more than 72-168 hours after an assault to support such charges. Victims who wish to take legal action against their assailant may seek assistance through the campus judicial board, university police, or Pittsburgh police. Victims have the right to refuse to take legal action even if they file a police report.
If you report to a hospital such as Mercy Hospital or Magee Hospital, a Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner, who is a specialist in this area, will collect evidence and will help you as you make decisions regarding what you want to do. The final decisions are completely up to you. You are in charge of what will happen once you have a kit collected.
Victims are encouraged to Report an Incident. We also recommend that you contact someone you trust such as a close friend, family member, counseling center or campus ministry staff member to get support through the process.