Sexual Assault Procedures
What To Do If You Are A Victim of Sexual Assault (Revised: June 27, 2013)
Important Phone Numbers
- Reno Police
- Dispatch: (775) 334-2121
- Detectives—Sex Crimes Division: (775) 785-8605
- Sparks Police
- Dispatch: (775) 334-2121
- Detectives: (775) 353-2225
- University Police
- Dispatch: (775) 334-2121
- Detectives: (775) 784-4013
- Washoe County Sheriff
- Dispatch: (775) 785-4629
- Detectives: (775) 328-3320
Hospital Emergency Rooms
- Northern Nevada Medical Center:
- Renown Regional Medical Center:
- St Mary's Regional Medical Center:
- Washoe County Health Department, Clinic Services:
- Sexual Assault 24 Hour Crisis Line:
(775) 784-8090 or (800) 992-5757
- National Suicide Prevention Lifeline:
What is Sexual Assault?
According to Nevada law, Sexual Assault is any unwanted, forced, or coerced sexual act. It includes inappropriate sexual contact or fondling, acquaintance rape, date rape, stranger rape, child sexual abuse, and incest. Under Nevada law, sexual assault requires some sort of penetration (intercourse, oral copulation, digital penetration, or penetration by another object). Additionally, there are four conditions in which one cannot legally give consent for sex:
- If one is under the age of 16,
- under the influence of alcohol or drugs,
- sleeping, and/or
- mentally or physically challenged.
What if you are assaulted?
Below are the steps that will give information to help you decide whether or not you want to report the sexual assault to the police; get medical, pregnancy, and STD testing; and other important matters, including how to receive group or individual therapy for your sexual assault.
We want you to be safe. Please go to a safe place.
Get immediate medical care (if needed).
If you are physically injured, medical care is vital. You can receive medical care at any hospital emergency room. If you are 18 years or older, you can get treatment for your immediate injuries without having filed a police report. To get support and assistance with the assault process, you should consider calling as soon as possible the Sexual Assault Support Services (SASS) (Crisis Call Center) at (775) 784-8090 or (800) 273-8255.
The role of the law enforcement
You make the decision when and how to utilize law enforcement. However, please keep in mind that the longer that you wait to report the assault, the greater the likelihood that valuable evidence (e.g., DNA, collaborative interviews from witnesses) may be lost. You have three ways you can contact law enforcement:
- Call 911 if an emergency, or if not emergent, call the Police Department Dispatch where the crime occurred;
- go to the police station in jurisdiction where the assault occurred to file a police report; or
- if you go to the hospital, ask that they notify the police. The various law enforcement dispatch numbers are listed at the right.
You do not have to report to the police (if you are over 18) to receive FREE medical care. Please contact Sexual Assault Support Services (SASS) (Crisis Call Center) at 784-8090 or 1-(800) 273-8255 for information.
Identifying your options on how to proceed
You are probably feeling stunned and confused. The natural urge is to want to be clean and get rid of the evidence from your body. You probably even want to forget the assault ever happened. Before cleaning up, you should consider calling the Sexual Assault Support Services (SASS) (Crisis Call Center) at (775) 784-8090 or (800) 273-8255. They will offer you support and explain your options including providing information about reporting to law enforcement, the forensic exam, further medical treatment, long-term counseling referrals, victim compensation, and more. We encourage a survivor to report the crime; however this decision is yours. We believe that a victim's decision should be always respected and supported whether or not a police report is filed.
About the forensic examination
The forensic examination is the way to preserve the evidence of the assault even if you have not yet made a decision about reporting the assault to the police. It is best to request the exam as soon after the assault as possible, but you have up to about 7 days after the assault to request it. If you are over the age of 18, you can receive the immediate forensic examination to collect evidence. The forensic exam and medical care are entirely FREE, confidential, and does not mean that you have to file a police report. It takes place at a secure location with sensitive nurses and physicians who are members of the Washoe County Sexual Assault Response Team (SART). To order an exam, contact the Sexual Assault Support Services (SASS) (Crisis Call Center) at (775) 784-8090 or (800) 273-8255 to set up your appointment. If you report to the police, they will order the forensic exam through SASS on your behalf.
Prior to the forensic examination
Try to avoid bathing, douching, eating, drinking or brushing your teeth so that evidence will not be disturbed. Clothing worn during the assault should be saved in a paper bag or pillowcase.
Doing the forensic examination later
You have up about 7 days to request the free forensic examination provided by Sexual Assault Support Services (SASS). You may receive the exam and the treatment that goes along with it even if you were unable to preserve your body as it was directly after the incident. Call SASS (Crisis Call Center) at (775) 784-8090 or (800) 273-8255 to set up the free appointment.
Other STD testing opportunities
You can be tested for sexually transmitted diseases at the Washoe County Health Department or Planned Parenthood. You do not have to file a police report to receive this testing.
If the assault is reported to law enforcement within 72 hours (3days) within the jurisdiction of where the assault occurred, your emergent medical care is free of charge and may include funding for post-assault counseling and further medical care that is directly related to the crime. If your report to law enforcement is filed within 5 days of the incident, and is within Nevada jurisdiction, you are eligible to apply for additional funds through the State of Nevada Victims of Crime Compensation Program (VOCP) for longer-term medical or emotional needs. Your Victim Advocate at the Crisis Hotline can assist you with navigation through this process. The SASS Program can also assist with any questions that you might have at (775) 784-8090 or (800) 273-8255.
Time limit on reporting the sexual assault
If the assault happened to you when you were under 18 years old, the statute of limitations on reporting to law enforcement is before the age of 21. If you are 18 or older at the time of the assault, the statute of limitations is 4 years. With regards to financial assistance, please keep in mind that you might not be eligible to receive as much (or any) financial assistance if you choose not to report to law enforcement. Free or low-cost counseling services might be available to you in your community even if you do not report to law enforcement.
Get support through this process by calling a supportive person, a friend or relative, or the Sexual Assault Support Services (SASS) Crisis Call Center 24-hours a day, seven days a week at (775) 784-8090 or (800) 992-5757.
How to get help coping with the assault
Your possible reactions
You have been through a traumatic experience. It is important for you to know that it was not your fault and counseling help is available for you. You may experience many different feelings after the assault. Common feelings are guilt, anger, shame, and fear. Some people will experience depression, flashbacks, anxiety, troubled sleeping and/or eating patterns, and problems re-establishing sexual relationships. You may find that you want a counselor to talk to about your feelings and reactions.
Referrals for Counseling
- If you are a registered University of Nevada, Reno student, you can see a counselor at Counseling Services. We have staff who are experienced working with survivors of sexual assault. You can either walk into Counseling Services, Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. - 4 p.m. and see our Triage counselor or schedule an appointment for an initial contact and then be assigned to a therapist. We may also have other experiences that will be useful to you such as a group on healing from loss, regulating emotions, anxiety management and others as well as an appointment with our psychiatrist. Counseling Services is located at the Thompson Building, Rm. 202. Our phone number is (775) 784-4648.
- If you want a free support group, the Crisis Call Center offers a free group for adult and adolescent survivors of sexual assault. The telephone numbers are (775) 784-8090 or (800) 992-5757.
- Other free or reduced fee counseling services are provided by the Family Counseling Service of Northern Nevada at (775) 329-0623 or Victims of Crime Treatment Center at the University of Nevada, Reno at (775) 682-8680 who treat both children and adults.
- If you want to see the provider list for therapists in the community who are experienced with working with survivors of sexual assault, please call the Crisis Call Center at (775) 784-8090 or (800) 273-8255. These providers do charge for their services but may have a sliding scale