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How to Help Yourself
- Go to a safe place as soon as possible.
- Seek medical attention immediately if you have any injuries or health concerns. Medical professionals can treat injuries, test for STIs and provide prophylaxis. If you think you may want to report the police and you are not seriously injured, you may want to contact police before receiving medical care to see if a forensic examination will be ordered. Medical providers who are not trained in evidence collection could remove key evidence from your body.
- Tell someone you trust.
- To consult with a victim’s advocate, you can contact the Women’s Center or the Women’s and Children’s Alliance. The Violence Prevention and Support Coordinator (VPSC) is housed in the Women’s Center (426-4259) and provides confidential support (M-F, 8 a.m.-5 p.m.). The VPSC can speak with you on the phone or in person to provide options, campus and community resources, support you in reporting the police or university and a variety of other services. You may also consult with an advocate from the Women’s And Children’s Alliance (WCA) domestic violence by calling the 24-hour hotline (343-7025).
- Consider calling call Ada County Dispatch (377-6790) or University Security and Police Services (426-1453) to report a crime. In an emergency, dial 911.
- If you choose to report to the police within 72 hours of the assault, a sexual assault forensic examination may be requested. To preserve physical evidence, don’t shower or bathe, wash your hands or clothing, change your clothing or bedding, use the toilet, or eat or drink. Refraining from these actions may provide a forensic examiner better access to evidence on your body and clothing. Most examinations are completed at Faces Family Justice Center, located at 417 S. 6th Street, 577-4400; this specialized facility is near campus and conducts exams with experienced Sexual Assault Forensic Examiner (SAFE) nurses. It is rare for forensic (evidence gathering) exams to be completed at hospitals, unless there is a physical injury that requires emergent treatment.
- If you choose to report to the police 72 hours or more after the assault, they may still request access to the scene of the crime, or your clothing or bedding. It is helpful if police can access the scene of the crime before it has been disturbed or cleaned. Do not attempt to collect evidence by yourself—this should be completed by a trained police officer.
- Seek counseling. Counseling is available on campus through University Health Services (426-1601) and there are many counselors available in the community.
- Believe in yourself; it is not your fault.
- Seek support in a friend, family member, or counselor.
- Know that you can always make a report to the police or the university if you and the perpetrator are students, staff or faculty.
- Take steps to ensure your safety, consider speaking confidentially with the Violence Prevention and Support Coordinator (VPSC) at the Women’s Center.