Medical care for victims and survivors of sexual assault
Our top priority is providing compassionate care for victims and survivors of sexual assault and rape. Our services are confidential and include medical care, counseling, and financial assistance.
We encourage you to seek medical care, even if you’re unsure whether you want to make a police report. A health care provider can help assess your wellbeing and personal safety, provide any necessary medical treatment, and connect you with other resources.
For a comprehensive list of confidential and other resources at WSU and in the community, visit the Office for Equal Opportunity. Cougar Health Services is committed to preventing sex- and gender-based violence and collaborates regularly with campus and community partners to create an environment of safety and accountability.
What to expect
Patient privacy is important to us. If you don’t want to give the reason for your visit in the reception area, you can call ahead to let us know that you’re coming in. You can also ask at the front desk to speak with someone confidentially.
We can contact a victim advocate from Alternatives to Violence of the Palouse who can support you during your visit with us. You are also welcome to bring a friend to stay with you throughout the visit.
If you are under 18 years old, we may be required to notify the police. If you are 18 or older, it’s your choice whether to report to law enforcement.
If you feel uncomfortable with any part of your visit or change your mind at any point, please don’t hesitate to let us know. You will be able to choose what you are comfortable doing or not doing. You have the option to decline any part of the procedure, or refuse it entirely. You can also ask to stop an exam at any time for any reason.
A variety of medical services are available for victims and survivors of sexual assault, including testing for and medications to prevent HIV and other sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and, if necessary, pregnancy testing and prophylactics. Health care providers will make individual recommendations based on your situation, and you can choose what services you’d like to receive.
One of the services we offer is a sexual assault forensic exam to collect physical evidence for use in a law enforcement investigation and possible prosecution. You do not have to speak to the police in order to receive a forensic exam. Law enforcement can anonymously store and maintain the samples collected during the exam should you choose to take further actions later.
Your healthcare provider will explain the exam process before beginning and can answer any questions about what will happen during the exam. Once the examination is completed and samples are collected, they are carefully packaged and stored to maintain the chain of custody and ensure the evidence can be used in court. Clothing, particularly underwear, may be collected as evidence during the exam. We have extra clothing available for patients, but you may want to bring a change of clothes with you.
You can find out more about this type of exam from the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network (RAINN).
Concerns about cost should not deter you from seeking medical care. The Washington State Crime Victims Compensation Program will cover costs for a sexual assault forensic exam and some subsequent testing. You do not need to report to the police for a sexual assault exam to be covered, however, ongoing care may not be covered without reporting to the police. We can provide additional financial support through our financial assistance program.
Our billing department will complete and submit the paperwork for covering your exam. Payments processed through the Washington State Crime Victims Compensation Program or our financial assistance program will not show on your student account.
If you have any questions or concerns about our services for victims and survivors of sexual assault, please contact us for more information.