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If you have been sexually assaulted...

Within the Last 72 Hours

You have just experienced a life-changing event. Asking for help is the first step in your recovery.  

Call our 24/7/365 hotline 205.860.SAFE (7233)

The Tuscaloosa SAFE Center office is open Monday-Friday from 8:30-4:30. If you call after hours, the answering service will send the on-call forensic nurse a confidential message and a forensic nurse will contact you to arrange to meet at the center.  

The Tuscaloosa SAFE Center accepts individuals of all genders, ethnicities, and orientations to be seen for forensic medical exams. Exams can be performed within 72 hours after an assault. If you fall outside of the criteria please do not hesitate to call TSC so we can help assist you in the best path.

Pediatric cases under the age of 14 are encouraged to go to Children's Hospital at The University of Alabama at Birmingham to receive a forensic medical examination.

What is the process?

Once you contact the TSC, a forensic nurse will call you to ask you several questions concerning your safety, health, and arrival time. Please call TSC FIRST so we can walk you through your different options.

What is a SANE?

A SANE is a sexual assault nurse examiner. Our SANEs, or forensic nurses, are registered nurses who have specialized training and education in order to take care of sexual assault victims and conduct forensic exams.


What happens in a sexual assault exam?


There are three main components of a sexual assault/ forensic exam. First, the nurse will conduct a head-to-toe exam of your body, looking for injuries. When you’ve just experienced a trauma, such as sexual assault, there is natural adrenaline running in your body, and you may not be aware of the extent of your injuries. If any injuries are noted, we will document them in a chart and with pictures (with your consent). If your injuries are severe, we will direct you to the hospital to get medical care. Lastly, we will collect evidence from your body. This will look like several different cotton swabs, fingernail scrapings, gauze, hair strands, your underwear, clothes, and more. Every case is different, and the evidence we collect will depend on what happened to you when you were assaulted.


What are your reporting options?


There are four reporting options if you are over the age of 18.


1. The first is a full report. This means that you want to open a case with law enforcement, collect evidence, and follow an investigation.

2. The second is to anonymous report as a Jane Doe or John Doe. This means that you are not sure if you want to involve law enforcement at this time but might change your mind in the future. We will NOT call law enforcement, but will proceed to collect evidence, complete a forensic exam, and assist you with any resources you might need such as HIV testing, STI testing and counseling. In the state of Alabama there is no statute of limitation. This means that you can change your mind 5, 10 or even 20+ years later to involve law enforcement and your evidence will be waiting for you to open a case when you’re ready. If you never decide to open a case, that’s perfectly okay too.

3. The third option is medical exam only. With this option you know that you don’t want to involve law enforcement and therefore don’t want evidence collected. You want to make sure that your body is okay and receive a medical assessment. We will still take care of you and do everything for you except collect evidence. You will still be assisted with other resources as well.


4. The fourth option is for students only, to involve Title IX. The purpose of Title IX is to assist you in school with things like changing classes if you are in the same class as your assailant, help you if you need to miss a couple days or a test while coping with a sexual assault, and more.

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