The Nurse’s Role
The job of the Nurse is to provide medical care for you, collect and preserve evidence, and is able to present the evidence and professional opinions for legal proceedings. The nurse will examine your body head to toe, diagnose and treat injuries, or provide referrals for additional treatment. A nurse will assess sexually transmitted infection risks, provide medicine to prevent infections, or treat any diagnosed during the exam.
• What is the nature of the crime you are reporting? For example, is it sexual assault, child sexual abuse, or sexual harassment are all examples.
• What is your name, and do you have the name(s) of the offender(s)?
• What was the location of the crime?
• When did the crime occur?
• Are you currently safe, or in pain, or experiencing injury from the crime?
• Do you need medical attention?
• Where is the offender currently?
Reporting to a Patrol Officer
When these questions are answered, a patrol officer is sent to your location to obtain a more detailed statement. The questions asked by patrol are likely to begin with general information, and gradually get in depth and personal. A patrol officer is required to ask detailed questions about the extent of sexual contact in order to determine elements of the crime. The intent of the officer is not to offend you or pry, but to obtain sufficient information to relay to a supervising sergeant to ensure the best next steps in the case investigation can be determined.
A report will be written by the patrol officer and forwarded to a Detective Division Sergeant or Investigator with the State Trooper’s Bureau of Investigation. When they have had time to review the report and assign it, you will be contacted by a Detective or Investigator. If the assault occurred within a specified time frame, the case may be screened as a Sexual Assault Response Team (SART) investigation. If so, you will be directed or transported to the SART clinic. You will be met there by a STAR Advocate, a specialized forensic nurse, and a specially trained Detective or Investigator. A team approach allows you to access immediate needs in one location.
Alaska currently has no statute of limitation for sex crimes. This means there is no time limit for reporting to law enforcement. However, the state used to have such a statute before the law changed in 1987. Based on information from the Department of Law, if the victim was over 18 at the time of the assault, 10 years is usually the time limit to attempt prosecution, simply because evidence is frequently lost. For the same reason, if the victim was under 18 at the time of the assault, prosecution is generally only attempted if the incident(s) occurred after September 14, 1987.
STAR encourages anyone who wants to report to do so, with expectations in line with the above information. While the chances of arrest may be low, depending on the circumstances, reporting may offer some amount of closure to a survivor, in documenting the crime(s) occurred. If the offender hurt you, it is likely (s)he has hurt others who may not be bound by the old statute of limitations. Your report may very well assist in the investigation of the offender and help another victim.
Sexual Assault Response Teams or SARTs typically consist of: You, a Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner, Law Enforcement, and an Advocate. You are the most important member of the team. Your role is to communicate any medical, emotional, and legal concerns you may have along the way. Being honest with the team will help build the strongest case. It is not your job to protect any member of the team from disturbing information. This team has gathered to help identify the crimes that have occurred, make certain your body is healthy, support you through reporting, and help you start on your healing journey.
The first step in reporting a sexual assault is to call law enforcement by calling 911 or non-emergency dispatch. Generally, you will need to provide the following information over the phone:
Advocates may offer information and options to think about when reporting a crime of sexual violence. You may ask for an Advocate to be with you when you report a crime of sexual violence or sexual harassment, or you may choose to report in the privacy of your home or wherever is comfortable for you. You are welcome to have a support person with you when you report.
Discourage friends or family members from confronting the offender. A CONFIDENTIAL investigation yields better results.
Protecting Your Body
1. Don't bathe, shower, or steam
2. Don't brush your teeth (if oral assault occurred)
3. Don't launder your clothing
4. If possible, place clothing you were wearing at the time of the assault in a paper bag or box. (Avoid plastic containers as mold will grow quickly in air-tight containers.)
5. Avoid aggressive wiping when using the bathroom. Urine may contain evidence so holding urine as long as you are comfortable is helpful.
Protecting Your Story
1. Avoid telling others about the assault until you have told police and they have a chance to talk with witnesses to get additional facts about the case.
2. Avoid posting on Facebook, texting, or notifying others who may know the offender. (This may mean even your closest friends).
3. Write down anything that you can remember as you wait for police or medical services.
The Sexual Assault Response Team is composed of You,
a Forensic Nurse, Law Enforcement, and a STAR Advocate
The step by step process of reporting
Local Crisis Line: (907) 276-7273 Statewide Crisis Line: (800) 478-8999 Business Line: (907) 276-7279
1057 W. Fireweed Lane, Suite 230 Anchorage, AK 99503 email@example.com
Law Enforcement’s Role
A member of Law Enforcement will interview you, pinpointing specific crimes and documenting possible witnesses and evidence. Law Enforcement then conducts an investigation and provides this information to the District Attorney, who will decide if an arrest and/or charging is possible.
The Advocate’s Role
The Advocate is a source of support to you through the entire process, explaining your rights, and providing immediate and long-term resources. An Advocate will explain this process is 100% voluntary, and you are not required to participate in any portion of the investigative procedure. Advocates may provide emergency shelter and transportation, legal advocacy, and on-going support weeks, months, and even years beyond the incident. Only with permission can the Advocate communicate on your behalf. You can decline advocacy services at any time.
Providing options, support and information to Alaskans affected by sexual violence for more than 35 years.