If you become the victim of a sex crime in Kansas or Missouri, reporting the crime can have many benefits. It could lead to the perpetrator being taken into custody and held accountable. This can give you a measure of justice, as well as potentially protect others from becoming victims of the same perpetrator. The decision to report a sex crime to law enforcement is entirely yours. Knowing what to expect can help you feel more prepared for the experience ahead.
Calling the Police
Your initial phone call to the police should be made to 911 if you are in immediate danger. The police will come to you to render aid, take a statement and potentially make an arrest, wherever you are. The police will ask questions such as where and when the sex crime happened, whether you know who assaulted you, what your relationship is to the perpetrator, if there were drugs or alcohol involved, if the perpetrator used a weapon, and what the assailant did.
It can be difficult to answer questions in the immediate aftermath of a sex crime, but reporting it right away can lead to more accurate descriptions and a more successful investigation. When responding to the scene, a police officer will talk to you about your options, such as pressing criminal charges against the perpetrator. Law enforcement will also explain your options to seek medical care and receive a sexual assault forensic exam, which is a form of evidence collection.
Going to an Emergency Room
Reporting a sexual assault crime should be accompanied with a visit to your local emergency room. This is important for your physical health and safety as well as the future of a criminal case against the perpetrator. When you arrive at a hospital, explain what happened. You should be taken to a private room and given the option of having someone come with you for support. If you have not yet made a police report and wish to do so, the hospital can notify law enforcement for you. It is important to note that you are not required to speak to law enforcement, however.
Receiving a Sexual Assault Forensic Exam
A sexual assault forensic exam, sometimes referred to as a rape kit, can be completed with your permission. While the last thing you may want is what might feel like another invasion of your privacy, a sexual assault forensic exam can lead to the collection of critical evidence against your attacker from your person. This exam will involve a full-body physical examination, photographs of any injuries or marks on your body, and the collection of any available evidence. This exam is free.
Cooperating With a Case Moving Forward
While it is up to you how much you wish to be involved in a sexual assault criminal case, cooperating with the police can make for a stronger case against the offender. The police may ask for additional information or require you to come to the precinct to give an in-person statement. When the officer finishes writing a report on the sex crime, you will be given a document with basic facts about the criminal justice process and a phone number for contacting the department. If you do not hear any updates within a month, call the phone number and ask for a status update.
Exploring Your Rights as a Sex Crime Victim
If the perpetrator is caught or you have grounds to hold an institution responsible for the crime committed against you (such as a school, church or employer), you may wish to file a civil lawsuit for sexual assault. Contact a Kansas sexual assault and abuse attorney in your state for legal advice and representation before you begin a civil sex crime case. A lawyer can explain your rights and walk you through the civil justice process, protecting your interests along the way.