If you have a patient who has disclosed a rape or sexual assault, you may wish to consider the following principles;
1. Do not ask Leading Questions. The Disclosure Form has been created to help you. Please keep a copy in the clients file (This may be required in the event of an investigation)
2. Do ascertain if the client/patient is safe. Do they have a safe place to return to? Do they require assistance from the Plymouth Domestic Abuse Service or Women’s Refuge?
3. Do ask when the incident occurred. If your patient has been assaulted in the last 7-10 days, we may still be able to retrieve evidence. If the assault happened earlier than the last 7 days you may wish to direct your patient to our 'historic abuse' pages.
4. Do provide the client with an information leaflet for the Sexual Assault Referral Centre (SARC). Please assure the patient/client that we are a registered charity and independent of any other agency. A booklet can be downloaded here.
5. Do ask the patient if they wish to report to the police. Call 999 in an emergency or 08452 777444 in a non-emergency. The Devon and Cornwall Constabulary have an informative website should your client wish to report a sexual assault. Do make sure that call operator knows to despatch a Sexual Offences Liaison Officer (SOLO)
6. Do not dispose of any evidence. Where possible collect any items that may assist the police investigation; including clothes, sanitary products, underwear, cigarette ends, drink glasses etc. Please refer to the Evidence Collection Summary for guidance on packaging and complete the Chain of Evidence Form for your records.
7. Do consider EARLY EVIDENCE. If you suspect a drug assisted rape or oral assault and have the option to take a Urine Sample and Mouth Swab/Rinse, please complete the Early Evidence Consent Form with the patient/client.
8. If the client does not wish to report to the police or access any other service, DO consider emergency contraception and sexual health screening.
9. Do record any injuries to the patient i.e. bruising, scratches or any tears to clothing. If the client does not wish to report to the police, you may want to consider photographing any evidence using a ruler to record measurement. Do obtain consent from the patient/client.
10. Do make a referral to your local Sexual Assault Referral Centre (if applicable) to gain further information or access specialist follow-up care. PLEASE ENSURE YOU GAIN WRITTEN CONSENT FROM THE CLIENT.