First and foremost, no part of the SART exam is required. The survivor can determine what parts of the exam they are comfortable with or refuse any step they are uncomfortable with completing.
A sexual assault response team (SART) is a survivor-sensitive program that responds to sexual assaults in the community. The SART team consists of: A nurse examiner (medical support and evidentiary examination) and a law enforcement officer (investigation and emergency assistance). The SART Exam (also known as a Rape Kit) is a forensic exam intended to collect evidence and DNA after a sexual assault. Usually SART Exams can be administered within 5 days of the assault, considering multiple factors; but best DNA collection is within 72 hours of the assault.
The SART Exam is composed of the following:
Photographic documentation of injuries sustained
Collection of clothes or other garments worn during the assault, or that may have DNA to be collected
Collection of evidence could consist of urine sample, swabs of the body, measurement of injuries on the body, blue dye spray, possibility of blood sample collection and drying and packaging of the evidence collected.
*You have the right to request the status of DNA collection; You have the right to know that DNA and other types of evidence can degrade/break down over time due to exposure to heat, water and other materials. In general, DNA evidence on the body lasts from 12 hours to 7 days. You have the right to be informed of the following:
Whether or not the evidence is analyzed within 18 months of your assault.
Whether or not a DNA profile of your assailant was developed from the evidence.
Whether or not the DNA profile of your assailant has been entered into the law enforcement database.
Whether or not the DNA profile of your assailant matched a DNA profile contained in the law enforcement database.
Ask that law enforcement take you to a SART hospital
Have an advocate and a support person present during the SART exam
Have an advocate present for any interview by law enforcement
Ask questions of the police, sexual assault forensic examiner, and attorneys
Be kept informed on the status of your case
Maintain confidentiality with the Rape Crisis Center assisting you and the Counselor Advocate providing support (EC 1035-1036.2). Rape Crisis Centers have confidential advocates that keep conversations private. Any questions related to your rights as a survivor of sexual assault can be answered by your rape crisis center confidential advocate. Advocates are trained in support services, local referrals and law enforcement as well as other government processes.
Request from law enforcement information regarding whether a DNA profile was obtained from the testing of your rape kit evidence or other crime information was entered the Data Bank (Sexual Assault Victim's DNA Bill of Rights, Penal Code 680)
Decline an interview with defense attorneys and their investigators
Decline a phone interview
Remain anonymous during criminal proceedings
Withdraw your testimony at any time
Survivors have the right to survive and thrive, which means that you have the right to request everything that you need to make the transition from victim to survivor.
Avoid cleaning or straightening up. Evidence may be collected from the assault location. Though it may be hard not to clean up, the police will need to examine the scene for evidence if you report the crime.
If possible, remain in the clothing worn during the assault or putting the clothing in a paper bag (NOT PLASTIC) so that it can be entered into evidence. Try to avoid washing the clothing.
Lastly, forensic evidence can be collected from your body through a sexual assault forensic exam. For this reason, avoid bathing, washing hands, or brushing your teeth if possible.
The nurses will offer you a change of clothes or you can have someone bring you clean clothes.