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Medical Forensic Examination
Sexual Assault Evidence Kit (Rape Kit)
A Sexual Assault Evidence Kit is a box that contains swabs, envelopes, instructions and forms. If a victim agrees, the kit is used during a sexual assault medical forensic exam to collect possible DNA evidence. DNA evidence can be found in semen, saliva, hair, or blood that may be on a victim’s body or on items like clothing. This evidence may be used in the criminal investigation and prosecution.
What Happens to the Sexual Assault Evidence Kit?
If the victim agrees to release the evidence, Michigan law requires that it be submitted to the crime lab for forensic testing. If the victim is not ready to release the evidence for testing, Michigan law requires the health facility to store it for one year so that the victim has time to think about it and decide whether or not to release the evidence kit for testing at a later date. For more information see Evidence Testing Rights and Results.
Finding Medical Care
There are specialized Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner (SANE) programs across Michigan that provide free medical forensic examinations. SANE programs are often the best source of care for victims. To find SANE services or other providers near you, contact a local sexual assault organization online or by calling 1-800-656-HOPE.
Hospital Emergency Room (ER)
If your community doesn’t have a SANE program, every hospital emergency room in Michigan is required to provide a medical forensic examination to a person stating that they have been sexually assaulted in the previous five days and are seeking an exam. MCL 333.21527.
Campus Health Services or General Practitioner
These providers can treat your medical concerns. They may be able to provide referrals to a SANE program or clinic that does medical forensic examinations.
Medical Payment and Compensation
A Note about Payment
Victims are not responsible for the cost of a standard medical forensic examination, including co-pays or deductibles. Either the victim’s insurance or the SAFE Response Program will pay for the examination and evidence collection. If the victim does not have insurance or if he or she has safety or privacy concerns about billing insurance, SAFE Response will pay for the examination. For more information about payment or if a victim has been improperly billed, contact Crime Victim Services Commission, SAFE Response or call1-517-334-SAFE (7233).
Compensation for Other Injuries
If a sexual assault victim sustains a physical injury that needs to be treated other than the forensic exam, he or she may be eligible for assistance with medical bills through the Crime Victim Services Commission compensation program. The victim would have to submit a compensation claim application, report the incident to the police, cooperate with the investigation and utilize their medical insurance, including Medicaid, Medicare, or any other resource available for payment. Payment of the victim's sexual assault examination does not guarantee that they will be eligible for compensation benefits. For more information or an application, visit Crime Victim’s Compensation website or call 1-877-251-7373.