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Medical Care

University of Michigan, Ann Arbor Campus

Medical Care

Medical Care

After a sexual assault, it is important to get checked for possible injuries and pregnancy and get treated for sexually-transmitted infections. Victims can seek medical help at any time. However, the days immediately after the assault are the only time DNA evidence of the assault can be collected. It is also the only time any substances (sometimes called date-rape drugs) can be detected. All victims of sexual assault have a right, under Michigan law, to have a medical forensic examination and evidence kit collected up to 5 days after the assault. This is done in order to preserve any DNA evidence in case the victim decides to report the assault immediately or at a later date.
Doctor meeting with patient

Medical Forensic Examination

This is a specialized examination that includes collection of a medical history, a physical examination, treatment for injury, emergency contraception, preventative treatment for sexually transmitted infections and recommendations for follow-up care. If a victim agrees, forensic evidence is also collected through the use of a sexual assault evidence kit (commonly referred to as a rape kit). This exam is typically performed at a local hospital emergency room or by a Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner (SANE) clinic. Healthcare providers must offer the exam to any person indicating that they have been sexually assaulted in the previous 120 hours (five days). Under Michigan law, victims are not required to file a police report or participate in a criminal investigation to have an examination and evidence collected. This examination should be FREE to victims.

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.

What Happens to the Sexual Assault Evidence Kit?

Finding Medical Care

SANE Program

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.

Local Sexual Assault Services

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.