Wheaton College Norton, Massachusetts
Wheaton College
Sexual Assault Information

Campus Life

Immediate Physical Safety and Medical Options

  1. What are the options for assuring the immediate physical safety of a victim of sexual assault including minor and serious injuries? What options are available after hours?

    Options for assuring immediate physical safety:

    CONFIDENTIAL

    • Morton Hospital ER (508-824-0243); Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner (SANE) on call 24/7
    • Norton Medical Center (508-286-5400) during regular business hours, M-F from 9A to 5P; after-hours doc-on-call via answering service at 508-286-5400.
    • Sturdy ER (508-222-5200; no Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner available)
    • Mansfield Health Center (508-339-4144) during regular business hours, M-F from 8A to 5P

    CONFIDENTIAL WITHIN COLLEGE ADMINISTRATION

    • Wheaton Public Safety (508-285-5051). PS, in conjunction with the Dean of Student's Office, will maintain professional discretion in dealing with any information related to a sexual assault.
    • Your RA, AC, Preceptors and WAMs will report to the Dean of Students Office and maintain discretion in dealing with any information related to a sexual assault.

    NON-CONFIDENTIAL

    • Norton EMS (911)
  2. Does a victim have to go to the hospital? What options are available there? What is a rape kit and what does a forensic exam entail?

    A victim may choose to go to the hospital or not. It is her decision.

    1. Morton Hospital ER in Taunton, MA
      At Morton Hospital, after a brief exam by the ER physician, a Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner (a specially trained and certified nurse who performs forensic exams) will document the account of the assault; perform necessary medical exams, tests and treatments; and collect crucial, time sensitive evidence (within 120 hours of the assault) using the Massachusetts Sexual Assault Evidence Collection Kit (Rape Kit). The Morton Hospital ER contacts the SANE via pager who will respond to the hospital within 60 minutes. The SANE provides services for both male and female victims. After an initial assessment by emergency room staff, the SANE conducts a limited medical exam, not a routine physical exam. The SANE exam (rape kit) specifically documents and collects forensic evidence (photos, written documentation, specimen collection and evaluation for drug facilitated sexual assault) and provides preventative treatment of STDs/HIV and emergency contraception. The SANE may also treat minor injuries. A forensic exam performed by the SANE usually lasts 4-6 hours from beginning to end. The victim is able to have a friend stay with her throughout the exam. The victim has the option of declining any portion of the forensic exam and/or medical treatment. Nothing will be done without the victim's consent. A sexual assault victim will also receive the support of a trained advocate from a local rape crisis center (New Hope). The advocate and the SANE will provide emotional support and crisis intervention, and referrals for follow-up support, counseling, and/or treatment.
    2. Sturdy Memorial Hospital ER in Attleboro, MA
      Although there is no Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner available at Sturdy Hospital, emergency room staff will gather evidence using the sexual assault evidence collection kit (“Rape Kit”) within 120 hours of the assault. The victim will receive STD/HIV prevention, emergency contraception, testing for date rape drugs, emotional support, and care of non-acute injuries. A rape crisis center advocate may also be called to the ER.
  3. Must the police be present for a forensic exam (rape kit) to be done by either a SANE or by an ER physician?
    • Each rape kit is assigned an anonymous tracking number so, unless the victim wishes to provide her name, the rape kit remains anonymous. The rape kit is maintained for 6 months from the date of collection - in case the victim changes her mind about reporting the sexual assault. If the assault is reported and the victim decides to press criminal charges, the evidence is stored for up to 15 years (the statute of limitations) from the date of the assault by local law enforcement. If the victim decides to press civil charges, the statute of limitations is 3 years.
    • No; the police will be notified but the victim has the right to refuse to speak with detectives or report the crime. The victim is not obligated to report the sexual assault to the police in order to have evidence collected. The victim has the option of speaking with the police at a later date if she decides to press charges.
  4. What is the timeline for evidence collection by a SANE or an emergency room physician?
    • Physical evidence collection (Rape Kit) by the SANE or ER physician must take place within 120 hours (5 days) from the time of the sexual assault.
    • In order to preserve evidence at the scene of the assault, leave any sheets, towels, etc. for collection by the police. The sooner this evidence is collected, the better.
  5. Who pays for evidence collection? How much does it cost? Are there specific requirements to obtain reimbursement from the state’s victims compensation program? Who gets the bill initially? Will my parents find out? Will the hospital do blind billing? Does Wheaton have a fund to pay for these exams?
    • At this time, there is no cost for evidence collected by a SANE or ER physician. The State will pay for the exam and the rape kit.
    • For all other treatments and medications, the victim’s insurance should not be billed. It is important to explain to the hospital that you do not want insurance billed. This is something that can be reinforced by the medical advocate from the local rape crisis center responding to the hospital. However if the hospital bills the victim’s own health insurance plan (such as the Wheaton insurance), she will receive all statements and bills relating to the assault at her campus address. If the hospital bills the insurance plan held by the victim’s parents, then her parents will automatically receive all bills and statements at their home address.
    • Most hospitals will not blind bill. You should request that they bill the Victim Compensation & Assistance Program directly by including the kit number on the invoice.
    • Wheaton does not have a fund to pay for medical expenses related to the assault.
    • To receive reimbursement from the Massachusetts Victims of Violent Crimes Compensation Program, the victim does not have to report the incident to law enforcement for the purpose of applying to the Program via the Forensic Sexual Assault Exam Compensation Application.  A victim retains the right to report the incident at their own discretion, however.
  6. How are date rape drugs detected? What is the window of time for testing? Can Norton Medical Center perform the screening?
    • Date rape drugs are detected in urine and blood but specimens must be collected within 12 - 24 hours. Date rape drugs such as Rohypnol and GHB, as well as alcohol, are rapidly processed in the body and leave no evidence of ingestion after 24 hours.
    • Norton Medical Center is not able to perform date rape drug testing on-site but is able to order the testing from Quest Diagnostics (10 Commercial Street, Foxboro, MA; 508-698-5299). The victim must go in person to Quest where the specimen is collected and processed. Taxi vouchers are available by contacting Cynthia Maricle, Student Health Services Coordinator, at 508-286-8210.
  7. How can a victim of a sexual assault get to the hospital?
    • Ask a friend to drive
    • Personal vehicle
    • Public Safety transport (508-286-8213)
    • Norton rescue (911)
    • Take a taxi (Taunton Checker Cab taxi vouchers are available at Public Safety 24/7, through Cynthia Maricle (508-286-8210), Student Health Services Coordinator at Norton Medical Center during regular business hours, and by contacting any member of SMART (Sexual Misconduct and Assault Resource Team).
  8. What advice would you give a recent victim who has not yet gone to the hospital about preserving evidence?
    • By going to a SANE emergency room, the victim can preserve evidence of the assault - even if she is unsure whether she plans to press criminal charges.
    • If the victim decides to go to the ER, encourage her to try to preserve any physical evidence. If possible, she should not shower, bathe, go to the bathroom, remove any barrier contraceptive devices, douche, change clothing, eat, brush her teeth, or use mouthwash.
    • If the victim is wearing the same clothes to the hospital that she was wearing during the sexual assault, she should bring a change of clothes with her. If her clothing has been changed from the clothing she was wearing during the assault, she should place the clothing in a clean paper bag (grocery bag) or clean sheet (plastic bags render forensic evidence useless) and bring the clothing to the hospital with her.

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