Preserving Evidence following an incident of sexual assault, domestic violence or stalking
It is important to preserve evidence of any offense – it may be necessary proof to obtain a protection order or to prosecute the offender.
1. Sexual Assault
a. Forensic evidence collection is best done within 72 hours of the assault and best collected immediately following an assault. Technological advancements are making it more likely to collect evidence even after 72 hours; however, it is important to remember that the more time passes between the sexual assault and reporting it to the police, the less likely it will be to collect physical evidence that may be very important to the prosecution of a criminal case.
b. To preserve evidence in the case of sexual assault, it is recommended that you do not shower or bathe, wash your hands, use the toilet, douche, eat, drink, smoke, brush your teeth, change clothing, or wash clothing or bedding before a medical exam. Even if you have already taken any of these actions, you are still encouraged to have prompt medical care.
c. If you wish to make a report to the police, or if you wish to have evidence collected so you can make this decision later, you may seek services by calling the local police dispatch number or contacting a local Family Justice Center. Faces Family Justice Center (577-4400) facilitates sexual assault forensic examinations for the Treasure Valley.
d. It is preferred that a police department facilitates the collection of forensic evidence. However, if you are not sure if you would like to report to the police or if it has been longer than 72 hours after the assault, you may wish to gather all clothing and bedding that may be used for evidence and place them into a clean paper bag or clean sheet. Items should be stored at room temperature that will not damage evidence.
2. Dating or Domestic Violence
a. In the case of dating violence and domestic violence, the resource you choose to report the crime to (a doctor, the police, an advocate, etc.) may recommend ways to preserve evidence such as logging incidents, photographing injuries, seeking medical care, etc.
a. Stalking is demonstrated through a pattern of unwanted contact. Information on how to document stalking can be found here: http://www.victimsofcrime.org/docs/src/stalking-incident-log_pdf.pdf?sfvrsn=4. In addition to logging unwanted contact, an advocate or police officer may recommend you save and photograph unwanted text messages, emails, letters and gifts and store them in a secure location.
REPORTING SEXUAL ASSAULT
This information is specific to the Boise area and will likely be similar to other jurisdictions. The campus resources noted below are resources specifically available to student, staff, and faculty members of Boise State University.
If sexual assault occurs, safety and medical assistance are the first considerations. Go to a safe place as soon as possible. Once you are in a safe location, you may consider and choose to access any of the options noted below:
1. To discuss options and access confidential support
a. The Gender Equity Center staff includes a Licensed Master Social Worker who can provide support in accessing police reporting, medical and counseling services, student conduct options and a variety of other resources. Support can be given over the phone or face to face. The Gender Equity Center is open Monday through Friday, 8 am -5 pm, and appointments can be scheduled by calling 426-4259. There is no charge for this service.
b. Boise State University Counseling Services (426-1459) offers counseling to students during weekday business hours (M-F, 8 am-5 pm).
c. The Boise Women’s and Children’s Alliance (WCA) offers a 24-hour sexual assault hotline that is available to respond to students in crisis and provide referral information (345-7273). There is no charge for this service.
2. To Report to the Police
a. You may report to the police directly or contact the Gender Equity Center to support you in making a report. To report to directly to the police, call 911 or the non-emergency dispatch number (377-6790).
b. If the assault is recent, a police detective may arrange to meet with you and a Victim-Witness Coordinator (a female staff member who works with the prosecuting attorney’s office, Ada County Sheriff’s Department, or Boise City Police Department to support you through the judicial process) at Faces Family Justice Center to gather information for a report. At this location, a forensic examination (also known as a “rape kit”) can be administered to gather evidence in the event of prosecution. This procedure involves a physical exam where a nurse or doctor collects the evidence of the assault and includes access to emergency contraception or prophylaxes for sexually transmitted infections.
3. Seeking Medical Care Outside of a Police Report
a. If you do not wish to complete a forensic examination and a formal report to the police, it is still important to seek immediate medical attention from a medical provider. Meeting with a medical provider within 72 hours also ensures adequate time to receive care for any injuries and to consider taking emergency contraception or prophylaxes for HIV or sexually transmitted infections.
4. To Report a Title IX Violation to the University
a. If the perpetrator is affiliated with the University, you may also notify the Title IX Coordinator and access the university conduct process through the Office of Student Rights and Responsibilities. This resource is available to victims even if the assault happened off campus. Boise State University does not require physical evidence to receive a complaint through Student Conduct and Gender Equity Center staff can serve as an advisor in this process. Note: A criminal investigation may occur separate from a conduct proceeding on campus if the person who hurt you is a member of Boise State University.
5. To Access Academic Support
a. Immediately following an assault, students sometimes find it difficult to attend class, focus on tests and complete assignments. If you need assistance in speaking with a faculty person, the Office of the Dean of Students, as well as the Gender Equity Center staff can offer advocacy for academic modifications.
Boise State University stresses the importance of supporting victims in whatever decision they make with regard to pressing charges. Services are available to help victims whether or not they choose to press charges. The University also recognizes that reporting a crime is different from pressing charges.
a. Boise State University acknowledges the importance of officially reporting all crimes and will provide assistance with reporting as indicated above.
1. The Clery Act
b. As provided under a federal Clery Act, the university requires all Boise State University Administrators, Officials, Employees and Faculty to notify Campus Security [the Clery Act Reporting Person] about any and all crimes that students may report to them. These laws allow the university to assess threats, conduct investigations and notify the campus community of possible threats.
i. Professional and religious counselors are exempt from Clery Act reporting requirements. However, the University encourages anonymous reporting when at the discretion of the counselor, as they feel it is appropriate.