An individual’s physical well-being should be addressed as soon as possible, whether or not that individual wishes to make a report to the University or local law enforcement. A medical provider can provide emergency and/or follow-up medical services, which has two goals: first, to diagnose and treat the full extent of any injury or physical effect and second, to properly collect and preserve evidence. There is a limited window of time (typically 72 to 96 hours) following an incident of sexual assault to preserve physical and other forms of evidence for proof of a criminal offense. In the event of a report immediately following an incident of sexual assault, a Complainant is encouraged to not shower, bathe, douche, brush teeth, drink, or change clothing prior to seeking medical treatment. Similarly, any clothing or bedding should remain untouched pending collection by law enforcement. Whether or not an individual has chosen how to proceed at the time of the medical examination, taking the step to gather evidence will preserve the full range of options to seek resolution through the University's complaint processes or through the pursuit of criminal investigation.
The University encourages individuals to seek immediate medical treatment and to make a prompt report to law enforcement in response to an incident of sexual assault or other sexual misconduct in order to address immediate safety concerns, allow for the preservation of evidence, and trigger a prompt investigative and remedial response. When the incident is reported to a campus resource, the University will help the individual get to a safe place and assist the Complainant in seeking immediate medical attention or in reporting an allegation to local law enforcement. The University will provide transportation to the hospital, assist with notification of local law enforcement, and provide information about the University’s resources and complaint process. The University will also provide appropriate interim measures, as needed, to help ensure the safety and well-being of the parties affected.
Please note that under Pennsylvania law, a medical provider is required to notify law enforcement of a reported sexual assault under most circumstances. Although the medical provider will provide information to law enforcement, the Complainant may decline to speak with a law enforcement officer or participate in a criminal prosecution.