Sexual assault
forensics exams

What is a
SAFE Exam?

A Sexual Assault Forensic Exam, also known as a rape kit, is a physical exam used to collect and preserve DNA evidence from your body and clothes after a sexual assault.

This exam is done by a trained medical professional or a Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner (SANE) and can involve a full-body examination at the discretion of the survivor.

The exam may include body swabs, photographs of injuries, preventative treatment for STIs and emergency contraception.


Please know that the assault is not your fault. It does not matter what you were wearing, if you had been drinking or flirting with the person, or if you even went home with them. Sexual abuse of any kind is always the perpetrator’s fault.

In most cases, DNA evidence needs to be collected within 120 hours in order to be analyzed by a crime lab. However, an exam can still be completed beyond this time to collect other important evidence if you decide to report later.

If you are able, try to avoid activities such as

  • showering
  • bathing
  • going to the bathroom
  • changing clothes
  • or cleaning up the scene

as it can potentially compromise evidence. However, if you have done any of these things, you can still receive an exam.


Health factors: Your health matters and a sexual assault may cause physical, external and internal injuries. An exam allows for these injuries to be addressed while also providing your with preventative treatment for STIs and emergency contraception to prevent pregnancy. You may choose to follow up with local health department for prescriptions and/or other resources.

Extra time for reporting: The exam can provide you with extra time to decide if you want to report the assault to authorities. This decision is completely up to you and having an exam done can safely preserve any evidence if you decide to report.

Increased likelihood of prosecution: DNA samples can help connect the assault to the perpetrator and build a stronger case against them. It can also prevent future sexual assaults as the perpetrator’s DNA is added to a database, making it easier to connect them to other crimes.


Please note that what happens during the exam is completely up to you and your comfort level. You can skip, pause or stop at any point during the exam.

Immediate care: If you have any injuries that require immediate medical care — such as a broken bone — those will be addressed first at a local emergency room.

Medical history: You will be asked about your medical history, including pre-existing conditions, current medications and other general background information.

Examination: You will be asked about the details of the assault to help identify potential areas of injury or location of evidence. With your permission, the trained professional may take pictures of injuries, collect your clothing and perform an internal examination of your mouth, vagina and anus. They may also want to collect bloodwork as part of an assessment for another medical need.


KRS21B.400(9) states that “No charge shall be made to the victim for sexual assault examinations by the hospital, sexual assault examination facility, the physician, the pharmacist, the health department, the sexual assault nurse examiner, other qualified medical professional, the victim’s insurance carrier or the Commonwealth.”


During a sexual assault forensic exam, you have the right to be accompanied by a medical advocate, provided by Sanctuary, Inc.

Medical advocacy is specialized on-call advocacy providing 24/7 support for survivors of sexual assault. Medical advocates provide patient advocacy throughout the exam or a rape kit at the survivor’s discretion.

SAFE Room Hours

The SAFE Room at Sanctuary, Inc. is open from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday by appointment.

To schedule a SAFE Exam, call 800-766-0000.

If you are experiencing an emergency, please call 911.