Know Your Rights: NIR SART Exam

Non-Investigative Reporting (NIR) Sexual Assault Exam, San Diego County

SART icon

WHAT IS THE NIR SART EXAM?

Per federal law (Violence Against Women Act of 2005), the purpose of developing a Non-Investigative Reporting SART Exam is to allow survivors the option to collect and store DNA and other physical evidence, as well as receive medical treatment, advocacy services, and counseling, without generating a law enforcement investigation. This evidence may include SART kits, clothing or other items collected, sexual assault exam report forms, and photographs.

DID YOU KNOW? If you are a victim or you think you may be a victim of sexual assault,

  • You have the right to request a sexual assault forensic exam without reporting to the police.
  • You have the right to have a friend, family member, or sexual assault advocate present with you during the sexual assault exam.
  • Even if you have already cleaned up from the assault, you can still request a non-investigative report. (Although there is a greater chance at collecting useful evidence if you do not shower, bathe, change your clothes, or brush your teeth. Most evidence is lost within the first 72 hours.)
  • You have the right to stop the exam at any time. You’re in control of the exam.
  • You do not have to give any information that you don’t want to. 

IS IT RECOMMENDED? 

YES. There are many reasons why a survivor may not feel comfortable or ready to open an assault investigation with the police. However – just in case the survivor wants to file a report later – it is better to have the evidence preserved immediately after the assault than wish one had preserved it once it’s too late. With that said, decisions of whether or not to get an exam or whether or not to report to the police belongs to the survivor.

HOW LONG IS THE FORENSIC EVIDENCE STORED FOR A NIR SART EXAM? 

18 Months * – however, the evidence collected during the exam will not be accessible to the survivor and it will not be tested unless the survivor activates the case with the police.

HOW DOES A PERSON ACTIVATE THE NIR SART EXAM?

  • The survivor needs to contact CCS’ Crisisline at: (888) 385-4657 to receive NIR SART Exam information. The CCS Crisisline counselor will provide the survivor with appropriate SART facility contact information, and instruct them to call the answering service directly.
  • The survivor must tell the answering service the following in order to notify the correct individuals: “I want a Non-Investigative SART Exam. Please put me in contact with the   on-call SART nurse.” The survivor will then be asked to leave their name and a safe contact number where they can be reached.
  • The on-call SART nurse will contact the survivor to arrange a time to perform the NIR SART Exam at the SART facility. In addition, the SART nurse will notify a CCS SART advocate to meet with the survivor in order to provide ongoing support.
  • Law enforcement may arrive at the SART facility to sign off on jurisdiction and payment responsibility, but would not be recording any of the survivor’s information. The survivor has a right to withhold all details about the assault and any identifying information. The survivor may have to describe the city or county where the assault took place (to the nurse, not law enforcement).

WHAT HAPPENS DURING THE NIR SART EXAM?

  • The survivor will be counseled about their options for reporting the incident and directed to a SART facility for an exam and collection of physical evidence. Survivors who chose the Non-Investigative Reporting option will be responsible for their own transportation to the SART facility since law enforcement would not be involved.
  • Though the survivor would not have access to the collected evidence, it will be kept by the appropriate law enforcement agency for a period of 18 months from the date of the NIR SART exam. If the survivor does not initiate an investigative report during that time, the evidence will be destroyed per agency guidelines.

 

* 18 months for civilian NIR SART exams. Military NIR SART exams are held for 5 years.

 

For more information, please call CCS’ 24hr Toll Free Crisisline: (888) 385-4657

SART Facility Locations: Central San Diego – College Area & North County Inland – Poway

 

 

By CCS Staff Marcella Maggio, Prevention & Education Coordinator, Lindsay Riedel, Administrative Services Manager, & Maria Outcalt-Smith, Sexual Assault Victim Advocacy Manager

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