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If you have been a victim of sexual assault, your health and well being is very important. Medical care is a priority for victims of recent sexual assault. It should also be a consideration for victims who were sexually assaulted some time ago.
If you have been a victim of a recent sexual assault, you may need to get medical help right away and make sure that your body is okay. If you have been recently sexually assaulted, it may also be possible to collect some forensic evidence.
Medical care can be obtained from:
your local sexual assault service that can help you arrange appropriate medical care with a specially trained doctor.
a public hospital emergency department
a GP (doctor)
sexual health clinic
youth health service.
You don't have to tell a doctor the details of what happened to you, but the doctor will be able to advise you better if they know what happened. Your doctor can help follow-up on any concerns about any health risks such as risk of infection, pregnancy or injuries.
If you have been sexually assaulted and are worried about unwanted pregnancy, you can request emergency contraception, called the morning after pill, from your doctor, over the counter at pharmacies or free from sexual assault services or sexual health clinics in your Area Health Service. To be effective, you must start taking it as soon as possible after the assault.
You may be worried that you have contracted a sexually transmitted infection (STI) such as hepatitis B or HIV or that your attacker was from a high-risk group. It is important to discuss these concerns with your doctor as soon as possible after the assault.
Even some time after an assault, getting a check-up with your doctor can be helpful, to discuss any health concerns you may have, such as not sleeping, feeling tearful or anxious, feeling sick or having difficulty getting through the day. Sexual assault is a traumatic experience, and these experiences and feelings are normal reactions to trauma. If these reactions are becoming a problem, or last for a long time, it is important talk to your doctor about this who can to refer to you to people who can help you.
It may also help to talk with someone about the impact of the sexual assault. Counselling is not about re-living the experience; it is about how you are going to cope with your feelings and reactions and how best you can manage them.
If you have reported the sexual assault to the police, you may be asked to undergo a
Forensic Medical Examination, which is a special medical examination performed to collect any physical evidence which can be used if criminal charges are laid.
It is your choice to choose whether to have a forensic medical examination, however it may assist in the investigation of your case.