Rape/Sexual Assault Treatment

Medically Reviewed by Carol DerSarkissian, MD on August 27, 2021

Call 911 if the victim:

  • Has sustained a serious injury
  • Is unconscious

1. Ensure Victim's Safety

  • Get the victim to a safe, secure place.
  • Call the police if there are still any signs of danger from the attacker.

2. Provide Support

  • Make sure the victim is not left alone.
  • Your local rape crisis center can provide additional support and information. Call the National Sexual Assault Hotline at 800-656-HOPE (4673), and the call will be directed to a rape treatment center near you.

3. Do Not Clean Up Before Receiving Medical Attention

  • To preserve evidence, the victim should not bathe, go to the bathroom, comb their hair, or change clothes until they have received a medical examination. Do not clean up anything at the site of the assault.

4. Seek Immediate Medical Attention at Doctor's Office or an Emergency Room

  • If the victim has been raped, a doctor will use a rape kit to collect hair, semen, clothing fibers, and other evidence of the attacker's identity.
  • Even if the victim is not sure they want to report the attack, it is still important to collect and preserve evidence so it can be accessed at a later date, if necessary.
  • If the victim wishes to report the attack, the hospital staff will call the police from the emergency room.

5. Follow up

  • A doctor will treat injuries from the rape or sexual assault.
  • Victims should be treated for sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) and should also ask the doctor about emergency birth control. It is important to receive birth control and treatment for STDs within 72 hours of the assault for maximum effectiveness. Victims can get emergency contraception up to 5 days after but it will be moderately effective.
  • Consult your doctor or call the National Sexual Assault Hotline at 800-656-HOPE (4673) for referrals to support groups or mental health counselors who can help the victim deal with the trauma of rape or sexual assault. Providing ongoing access to support for rape and sexual assault victims is essential, because healing can require many years.
  • If you are a friend or relative of a rape or sexual assault victim, listen and provide ongoing support, and reassure the victim that they are not at fault for what happened.

Show Sources


Rape, Assault, and Incest National Network: "Receiving Medical Attention."

Rape, Assault, and Incest National Network: "Effects of Sexual Assault." "Sexual Assault and Abuse."

San Francisco Women Against Rape: "What Should I Do?"

CDC: "CDC Sexually Transmitted Disease Treatment Guidelines."

Sexual Assault Information from eMedicineHealth.

© 2021 WebMD, LLC. All rights reserved. View privacy policy and trust info