This page has been printed from the Yarrow Place website http://www.yarrowplace.sa.gov.au
Preserving forensic evidence
Sometimes people choose to delay the forensic medical examination
because they have more pressing needs such as arranging childcare,
changing accommodation or needing to have a sleep.
The following information is provided to let you know what you
can do to maximise the successful collection of forensic evidence
when the examination is done, if there is to be a delay. This
is only necessary if the person is considering legal action.
This section outlines the information required to preserve forensic
evidence. Often people will already have performed a number of activities
following the rape that may impact on the successful collection
of evidence. Activities such as showering, douching and washing
clothing are normal responses to rape and it is important not to
make the person feel guilty for reacting in a normal way to the
trauma of rape.
Oral rape or injuries
Ideally no food or drink until assessment by a doctor and oral
specimens have been collected. The police can take the oral swab.
If the person is uncertain about police involvement, contact Yarrow
Place for advice.
Gloves must be worn at all times to prevent contamination of evidence.
Please explain to the person why this is necessary.
The woman may urinate if necessary but should press her underpants
to the vulva and anus before removing them to go to the toilet and
should not wipe afterwards.
The person should be encouraged to avoid defecation if possible,
if an anal rape has taken place. If this is not possible, request
that the person press his/her underpants to the anus before removing
them to go to the toilet.
Leave clothes on if possible. If clothing needs to be removed:
- Wear gloves
- Try to remove clothing intact
- Place each item in a separate paper bag
- If the clothing needs to be cut, record this
Record injuries carefully, being accurate with description of
injury as this affects the interpretation of injury causation. Only
clean those areas necessary for providing medical treatment. For
example, clean wound edges prior to suturing. Record treatment given
and procedures performed.
Use of lubricants should be minimised where possible if vaginal
or rectal examination is done prior to performing a forensic medical
The person should be asked not to shower prior to the examination
because some evidence may be lost. If this is not possible, ask
the person not to wash those areas involved in the assault, for
example for a vaginal assault, not to wash the genital area.
Contact Yarrow Place for advice if you are uncertain about preserving