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SART Exams & Forensic Evidence Collection Kits

Immediate Help

If you are in immediate danger, call 911 (or 9-911 from a campus phone).

If you are injured or want immediate medical treatment, go directly to the nearest hospital emergency room (which may not provide SART exams).

If you are considering a SART exam, go directly to Santa Clara Valley Medical Center Emergency Department.

What is a SART Exam?

A SART exam can do two things: provide sensitive, thorough medical care and collect evidence that may be helpful to the prosecution of your case.

Other terms: Sexual Assault Response Team exam, forensic evidence collection exam, medical-legal exam, SAFE exam, SANE exam, or “rape kit/exam.”

  • In Santa Clara County (the county that Stanford is within), SART exams occur at Santa Clara Valley Medical Center (SCVMC).

    • You have the option of providing your own transportation, arranging for a ride from a friend or family member, or the police agency (such as the Stanford University Department of Public Safety) ordering the exam may offer transportation.

  • Contact the Confidential Support Team (CST) if you have questions or concerns about SART exams.

    1. You can come to SCVMC  for non-investigative reporting (NIR) under VAWA, as well as an incident that you want reported to law enforcement

      1. You will name that you don’t want to report to law enforcement at this time

      2. The SANE will then complete an exam per your wishes, and all the same things apply (consent, rights, advocate, etc.)

      3. The nurse examiner will still call law enforcement because they will have to get an incident/case number to get to you (the patient) before you leave SCVMC. There is no time limit to decide if you want to make a report to law enforcement, so you should retain both the incident number and SART number. NIR kits will be held indefinitely as there is no statute of limitations.

      4. If you decide to move forward and report to law enforcement, you will call the SCVMC SAFE Program or the YWCA and state that you want to convert to a standard report. You will need to sign a consent form to allow the SCVMC SAFE Program to release your records to law enforcement.

    2. The decision is yours alone regarding which non-medical personnel are in the exam room with you. You may ask anyone to leave at any time.

    3. In addition to a certified advocate, you may also have a support person such as a friend or family member with you.

    4. You have the right to have a certified advocate from the YWCA Silicon Valley present who can maintain privileged communication and will have knowledge of medical rights and the criminal legal system. They can provide confidential and anonymous services throughout the medical, legal, and administrative procedures of the SART exam.

    5. In the room with you will be a nurse examiner, or SANE, who is trained to be sensitive to survivors of sexualized violence.

How do I get a SART exam?

  1. Go directly to Emergency Department and ask for a SART exam
  2. Call SCVMC and tell them you want a SART (this may reduce waiting time)
    1. SART Contact information
      SCVMC: 408-885-5000
      Sexual Assault Response Team (SART): 408-885-6466
      Address: 751 S Bascom Ave, San Jose, CA 95128

How do I get to SCVMC?

  1. Call the Confidential Support Team (CST) between 8am-5pm at 650-736-6933 or after-hours (24/7) at 650-725-9955 to coordinate confidential transportation
  2. Call SUDPS at 650-329-2413 and tell them you would like to be transported to SCVMC for a SART exam (this is not necessarily a confidential option)

Important: Medical options are confidential, although medical personnel are required by California law to report to the police instances where they observe physical injury caused by assault.

What Happens During a SART Exam?

Remember, you have the right to consent or decline any part of the exam at any time.

Note: If you have injuries that require immediate treatment, those will take precedent over the SART exam process.

Try not to eat, drink, wash, or brush prior to the exam. However, if you have done any of these, you can still get the exam.

  1. Once at the Emergency Department of SCVMC, you will be escorted to the Family Waiting Room, which is a more private space than the ER waiting room

  2. A nurse will take your vitals (such as blood pressure, pulse, temperature)

  3. The SANE will call the YWCA of Silicon Valley and an advocate will meet you at the hospital. Within an hour of your arrival the advocate will arrive and is available to support you in the forensic evidence collection process. The advocate can explain the process of the exam as well as your rights and choices. It is your choice whether the advocate stays with you in the exam room, waits in the waiting area, or leaves.

  4. A detective will arrive and will ask to interview you (unless it’s non-investigative reporting). You have the right not to participate in any interview at this time.

  5. You will have After you are medically cleared (meaning, if necessary, your injuries are treated), you will move to the SART clinic area.

  6. The SANE will explain the exam and the exam process, and ensure you know your rights. You will then be asked to provide informed consent.

  7. You will be asked to describe the events of the assault, possibly in the form of your own narrative or an interview. These answers will then direct the course of the medical exam.

  8. The exam begins with a general health check: blood pressure, blood draw test, heart rate, looking at your eyes, ears and nose, etc.

    1. All medication is provided for STIs, emergency contraception, and any additional medications for any other possible infections. Post-exposure prophylactic HIV medication is only given within 72 hours of an assault.

    2. Don’t worry if you’ve been drinking while underage: lab draws are not punitive (used to differentiate anything that may have been drug/alcohol facilitated or on their own accord).

  9. Physical evidence is collected from head to toe, in the form of hair and oral swabs, to identify both your DNA and that of the person who assaulted you. A lamp is used to look for evidence such as semen or saliva.

  10. A pelvic exam may be done. Initially, the SANE will look at external genitalia, and may do an internal exam (vaginal or anal, depending on the assault). You have the right to stop the exam at any moment, if it becomes too physically or emotionally painful.

  11. Photographs may be taken of physical evidence (e.g. bruises, lacerations, tears), but these photographs are focused on such a small part of your body and attached to only your SART kit case number so that your identity will not be able to be inferred from any photographic evidence. There is a picture of your face taken to use for an identifying photo for the kit

  12. Once all the evidence is collected, it becomes part of a SAFE kit that is signed over to the police. When the police finish their investigation, the evidence is turned over to the relevant District Attorney’s Office (depending on where the assault occurred; if it occurred at Stanford, this would be the Santa Clara County District Attorney).

  13. You will be offered the opportunity to shower after the exam

  14. Your clothes may be taken, consider bringing a change of clothes if you’re able, otherwise you will be provided with a change of clothes

  15. The relevant District Attorney’s office will make a decision regarding the case. If the case moves forward and enters criminal court, you may be called to speak in court as a witness.

  16. Contact the Confidential Support Team (CST) if you have questions or concerns about SART exams.

More information: Survivors’ Bill of Rights Act of 2016

Some of the information above has been adapted from Humboldt State University’s Response and Prevention Website