Forensic Medical Examination (FME) and gathering forensic evidence
During any police involvement there may be a need for a medical examination by a qualified health care professional.
The health care professional, called a Forensic Medical Examiner (FME), will examine all parts of your body including your intimate areas. The FME will understand your fears and emotions.
In this examination normally at a Sexual Assault Referral Centre (SARC), the FME, may take swabs and samples of skin, hair, blood and urine from you.
Find a SARC near you by clicking this link
You have the choice to refuse the examination at any time. No one can pressurise you into any examination.
The ISVA, or a family member, partner, friend or a female police officer can be present during this examination if you wish. It is your choice. The FME will understand your need for support.
The person who assaulted you could have left their own DNA on you during the assault. The Forensic Medical Examiner will collect this, if possible.
The FME should also offer you the ‘morning after’ pill if you need it. You are within your rights to ask and receive this medication. This emergency contraception can work up to 72 hours after a rape.
- Write down as much information and detail as you can about the assault and attacker.
- It is important that you try to keep the clothes and your self in an unwashed state, do not bathe, douche or brush your teeth, smoke or drink, if possible.
- Try not to disturb anything where the assault occurred if possible.
- After the assault, DNA maybe left. This can be used as forensic evidence.
- DNA has a lifespan, it is organic and will decay. DNA will die – second by second of each day – that you take no action.
Should you wish to report the incident to the police, the collection of evidence at this time is extremely important and invaluable.
It can be used as evidence in court.
Medical examinations can make any one nervous. The forensic medical examinations can be even more traumatic.
The reasons for taking so many swabs and samples is to build a strong case of forensic evidence for the case to be successful in court.
You may have been subjected to a drug-assisted assault. So the need for blood, urine and hair samples can lead to confirmation of this type of sexual assault.
Modern forensic methods can offer considerable weight in any case going forward in to the criminal justice system