Frequently Asked Questions

Sexual Assault FAQ

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What is sexual assault?
Sexual activity without consent is a serious crime. Under the law, lack of consent occurs in one of three situations: (1) when a person is compelled by force or the imminent threat of force, (2) where a person is unaware that sexual act is occurring; (3) where the person is so mentally disabled or deficient that consent to the sex act cannot be given. Specific sex crimes include sexual intercourse (Rape), other sexual acts (Criminal Deviate Conduct), or touching another person with the intent to arouse or satisfy sexual desire (Sexual Battery).

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What is the Sexual Assault Response Team (SART)?
The Sexual Assault Response Team (SART) is a community-based effort to coordinate resources to respond effectively to sexual assault incidents and collect evidence with sensitivity to the victim. The SART seeks to provide comprehensive services to victims of sexual assault, including free forensic medical examinations to document injuries and preserve evidence of a sexual assault that can be used to prosecute the perpetrator. The SART also promotes public education aimed at preventing sexual assault.

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What should I do if I have been sexually assaulted?

  • Go to a safe place such as the hospital. If you are in immediate danger, require emergency medical assistance, or wish to report a sexual assault to the police call 911.
  • Do not bathe, shower, wash, douche, brush your teeth, rinse your mouth, change your clothes, eat, drink, smoke, or urinate (if at all possible prior to a forensic medical exam.)
  • Get immediate medical care. You may have an injury and not even know it. At the hospital ask for a Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner (SANE) to conduct a free forensic medical examination. You may also need to be checked for any possible disease or pregnancy.
  • Tell someone. Speak to a friend or relative. Go to the hospital or call the police.

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Who can I call for help?

There are many places to turn to for help.
Call 911 if you are in immediate danger, require emergency medical assistance, or wish to report a crime to the police.
Call the Middle Way House Crisis Intervention Line at (812) 336-0846 24 hours a day.
Call the Indiana University Sexual Assault Crisis Service at (812) 855-5711
Call the Bloomington Hospital at (812) 353-9313 to arrange for a Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner (SANE) to conduct a forensic medical examination 24 hours a day, 7 days a week; or if you are an I.U. student you may contact the IU Student Health Service during regular business hours.

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I think I was sexually assaulted, but I am not sure because I was intoxicated and can’t remember exactly what happened. What should I do?
Adult victims who are not sure if they were sexually assaulted can still get a free sexual assault examination by going to the Emergency Department at IU Health Bloomington Hospital (24-hr availability) or the IU Student Health Service. Although a Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner (SANE) cannot determine whether you were sexually assaulted, they can locate, document and provide treatment for both internal and external injuries, give prophylactic medicine to prevent sexually transmitted infections, and collect potential evidence.

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I am a victim of sexual assault but I don’t want to make a police report. What should I do?
If you are an adult victim of sexual assault you have the right to choose whether or not to report the incident to law enforcement. Even if you choose not to report the incident to the police, you should immediately seek medical attention and obtain a free examination from a Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner (SANE) so that physical evidence is collected and documented. Evidence from non-reporting adults will be anonymously preserved for one year under a confidential number recorded in your medical chart. While you are encouraged to promptly report a sexual assault to law enforcement so that they may conduct a more thorough criminal investigation – the choice is yours.

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Who will pay for medical/psychological care that I need as a result of a sexual assault?
The sexual assault examination is free to the patient. If criminal charges are filed, the defendant might be ordered to pay restitution for a victim’s medical and psychological treatments that were necessary because of the sexual assault. In addition, a victim of a crime can seek to have his/her expenses reimbursed by the Indiana Violent Crime Compensation Fund; however, this reimbursement process can take several years.

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I am scared that the perpetrator of the assault will try to hurt or threaten me. What should I do?
Victims of sexual assault are eligible to get a civil Protective Order, regardless of whether the victim has made a police report or criminal charges have been filed. Help with protective orders is available through the Protective Order Assistance Partnership. If a criminal charge has been filed, the prosecutor can get a No Contact Order on behalf of a victim. Both orders prohibit a person from having direct or indirect contact with a victim, and a violation of those orders can constitute a separate criminal offense.

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Can the prosecutor’s office file a sexual assault or child molesting charge if the incident happened a long time ago?
The prosecutor’s office can file sexual assault and child molesting charges in some circumstances even if the incident happened years prior. The statutes of limitation — the legal deadline for filing criminal charges — for these offenses range from five years to no limitation whatsoever, depending on the specific crime charged. It is not uncommon for victims of sexual assault and child molesting to report the crime to law enforcement years after the incident occurred.

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Will I have to testify against the perpetrator in my case?
It is possible that a victim will have to provide testimony in a criminal case. If a case goes to trial, the victim will be called as a witness. To prepare for trial, the prosecutor will meet with the victim, explain the process and what to expect, and answer questions that the victim may have. In addition, the prosecutor’s Victim’s Assistance Program acts as a liaison to help the victim understand the court process.

Another time when a victim may have to provide testimony is during a deposition. A deposition is where an attorney interviews a potential witness under oath. A deposition takes place in an attorney’s conference room and there is no judge or jury present. Prior to the deposition, the prosecutor will meet with the victim, explain the process and what to expect, and answer questions that the victim may have.

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How long does a criminal prosecution take until it is concluded?
While there is no set time limit on how long a sexual assault prosecution can take, it is typical for these cases to remain pending for approximately one year.

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How will my case get resolved?
Criminal cases can get resolved in several ways, including a plea of guilty, a trial, and a dismissal. The vast majority of criminal cases are resolved through an agreement in which the defendant admits guilt for a crime and the parties agree to a particular sentence.

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I have questions about the Sex Offender Registry. Who should I talk to?
The Office of the Monroe County Sheriff maintains sex and violent offender registry records.

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