Preserving Evidence

What You Should Know

Even if you choose not to report the incident to the University or to law enforcement, you are encouraged to take steps to preserve evidence. This will ensure that evidence is available if you later decide to proceed with a criminal or university investigation.

  • Seek treatment at a local hospital emergency room as soon as possible.
  • Immediately notify medical staff if you believe drugs or alcohol were involved. Medical staff is specially trained to collect evidence and perform tests, including tests that can provide important evidence if drugs or alcohol were involved.
  • Make every effort to save anything that might contain DNA. Do not clean up or move anything that might have been touched.
  • Write down as much as you can remember about the circumstances, including a description of the other party.
  • Save any electronic communications with the assailant or relevant to the incident (voicemails, emails, text messages, social media messages or posts, etc.).
  • If possible, do not shower, bathe, douche, brush your teeth, or consume any food or beverages before going to the hospital if you have not already.
  • Keep the clothing you were wearing. If you have already changed clothes but have not washed them, put each clothing item in a separate clean paper bag, plastic bags are discouraged.
  • Photograph any visible injuries you have. Injuries may develop or become more visible over time.
  • Physical evidence of sexual assault, like clothing, sheets, or menstrual products, can also be turned over to the medical staff at Shands and will be stored in case you want to make a police report in the future.
  • State law provides that sexual assault forensic kits and evidence (like those collected at Shands) be kept at the police department for a minimum of 3 months. However, some law enforcement agencies may keep them for longer.
  • If you choose not to report to law enforcement or are not sure whether you’d like to make a report, consider submitting an anonymous report through the Report Rape Gainesville website.