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Medical Care After a Sexual Assault

If you have been recently sexually assaulted, the most important first steps are to go to a safe place and seek medical attention. The following are medical care options:

Washington Hospital Center Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner (SANE) Program

Washington Hospital Center is the only medical facility in Washington, D.C. with nurses trained to help adults who have been sexually assaulted. It provides numerous services including a complete medical exam, testing for sexually transmitted diseases, counseling, and evidence collection. The facility is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. The services are FREE. The Department of Public Safety (DPS), 202-319-5111, will take students to Washington Hospital Center or students can get a free Uber ride there and back by calling (800) 641-4028.

Catholic University Student Health Services

The Student Health Center is open during the academic year on weekdays from 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. and from 1 to 5 p.m. It is open on Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Check the website linked above for hours during the summer and breaks. Student Health Services can provide a medical exam and testing for sexually transmitted diseases. All information given to a physician or nurse practitioner is confidential and will not be shared with other campus offices.

 

Emergency Support

Many organizations offer 24/7 emergency support for survivors of sexual assault.

Catholic University Counseling Center

Students can receive emergency support in person by going to the Counseling Center without an appointment Monday through Thursday from 9 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. and Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. On-call counselors provide after-hours emergency support by telephone to students 24/7 during the academic year. Students living on campus can reach the on-call counselor by going to their Community Director. Students living off-campus can reach the on-call counselor by calling DPS at 202-319-5111 and requesting to speak to the on-call counselor for emergency support. DPS will relay the student’s contact information to the counselor, who will call back as soon as possible. DPS will not become involved in the situation if the student is only requesting emergency support from a counselor. Please see the Counseling Center website linked above for additional information.

D.C. Rape Crisis Center

The D.C. Rape Crisis Center has a 24-hour hotline at 202-333-7273 that can help survivors deal with the immediate aftermath of an assault. The hotline is confidential and anonymous.

Rape Abuse and Incest National Network (RAINN)

RAINN offers a 24-hour hotline at 800-656-4673. It also offers a 24-hour online chatting service with trained professionals through its website.

 

Options for Reporting or Confidential Assistance

Survivors of sexual harassment or sexual violence have multiple options for either reporting or obtaining confidential assistance. The victim chooses how to proceed except in rare cases when the University has evidence that the alleged perpetrator may be a threat to the community.

Option 1: Complete confidentiality

Victims who want complete confidentiality can discuss their situation with any of the following:

  • A counselor at the Counselor Center
     
  • A licensed medical professional such as a doctor or nurse practitioner at the Student Health Services
     
  • A member of the clergy when acting in his pastoral capacity. For example, a priest who is a professor would not be acting in his pastoral capacity if he is advising you as your professor.
     
  • An off-campus licensed rape counselor such as at the D.C. Rape Crisis Center.


Option 2: Report to the Metropolitan Police Department

Victims of a crime can report to the Metropolitan Police Department by calling 911. A detective will
gather evidence and forward your case to the U.S. or district attorney, who will decide whether to prosecute.

> See PDF flowchart showing options 1 and 2.


Option 3: Report to the University

A victim can report to the University by contacting DPS, the Dean of Students, or the Title IX Coordinator. A victim can also tell a responsible employee, who is required to report to the University. Reporting does not obligate the victim to file an official complaint. The victim may report simply to request support services such as academic accommodations, a no-contact order, or periodic check-ins from the Dean of Students office.

> See PDF flowchart showing option 3.

> See PDF list of responsible employees for Title IX reports of sexual offenses

 

Temporary Support

The University can provide a wide variety of temporary support measures to assist survivors and protect them from retaliation.

The following are some examples:

  • No contact order – If the alleged perpetrator is a CUA student, the University can issue a no-contact order that prohibits interaction between two students. The no-contact order does not assume guilt and is not a finding of responsibility. Sometimes the no-contact order needs to be customized for a particular situation. For example, if two students are taking the same class, the order may prohibit them from sitting on the same side of class or talking with each other in the classroom.
     
  • Civil protection order (CPO) – DPS can help victims obtain a CPO from the D.C. Police. The CPO typically prohibits the alleged perpetrator from coming within a specific distance of the victim. CPO’s are preferable to a campus no-contact order if the alleged perpetrator is not a CUA student or if the victim lives off-campus.
     
  • Residential changes – If the victim and the alleged perpetrator live in the same residence hall, the Dean of Students can arrange for one of the students to move to an equivalent space in a different residence hall.
     
  • Academic assistance – Many victims suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder. The Dean of Students can work with a student’s professors to postpone deadlines for papers or project and reschedule tests or exams.

 

Ongoing Support

Sexual assault survivors have many options for ongoing support:

Catholic University Counseling Center

The Counseling Center provides up to 45 weekly sessions at no charge for full-time undergraduate and graduate students at CUA. Students must first schedule an intake appointment and then will work with the center to set up a schedule for therapy sessions. The counseling sessions are confidential and are not part of a student’s academic record.

Sexual Assault Survivor Support Groups: In addition to individual therapy, the Counseling Center runs group therapy sessions specifically for sexual assault survivors. For more information on meeting times, contact the Counseling Center.

Campus Ministry

The Office of Campus Ministry offers spiritual support to victims of sexual assault. In addition to pastoral conversations with ordained priests protected under the sacramental seal, non-ordained pastoral/professional staff have been invited by students to accompany them to other support services on campus. Staff also help friends of victims as they seek ways to support their friends who have been victims of sexual assault.

Students can come in at any time during regular business hours to seek assistance. The office on the ground floor of Caldwell Hall and is open from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. After hours, the chaplain and/or campus ministers can be reached by contacting any student minister, community director or DPS.

Dean of Students Office

The Dean of Students Office provides academic and emotional support. Even if a victim decides not to file a complaint, the student can receive weekly check-ins from an assistant or associate dean to see how they are doing. The office can also help victims navigate their options and decide on the best course of action.

D.C. Rape Crisis Center

The D.C. Rape Crisis Center provides individual and group counseling at no charge. It is located less than two miles from campus near the Fort Totten Metro Station, only one stop away on the Metro red line. For any questions, please contact the intake coordinator at intake@dcrcc.org or 202-232-0789.

Wendt Center for Loss and Healing

The Wendt Center provides free individual and group counseling for survivors of sexual assault. The closest location to campus is on Connecticut Avenue, NW near the Van Ness Metro Station on the red line. To schedule an appointment, call the intake coordinator at 202-624- 0010.