Why Do I Need Medical Care?
If your rape occurred within the last 96 hours, you can receive medical treatment at your local hospital emergency room and have that visit paid for by the State of Arkansas. If the rape has occurred more than 96 hours ago, it is still very important for you to seek medical attention. The following information focuses most intensively on the hospital emergency room visit, however, there is relevant information for anyone seeking medical treatment at any time following the assault (for minors, there is no time limitation if the examination is required in the opinion of the examining physician).

It is important to seek medical care for several reasons:

1. Evaluation and possible treatment for physical injuries you may or may not be aware of.

2. Evaluation and possible treatment for sexually transmitted diseases and/or pregnancy.

3. Collection of evidence for possible future legal proceedings. Evidence should be collected as soon as possible, within 96 hours.  There is a very time-limited opportunity to collect evidence. Without physical evidence, legal cases are often weakened.

Before seeking medical attention at the hospital emergency room:

1. Contact someone who can accompany you to the hospital or meet you there—a friend, family member, or an advocate.

2. If possible, do not shower, bathe, douche, eat, drink, smoke, clean up, urinate, or change your clothes, as this can destroy evidence. If you have already changed, place the clothes that you were wearing in a paper bag and bring to the hospital.  If you have already done any of these things, evidence may still be collected. Don’t assume that all evidence has been destroyed.

3. Take an extra set of clothes with you to the hospital. The clothing you were wearing at the time of the assault may be collected as evidence.

How will I pay for the Hospital Visit?

Under Arkansas law (through the Sexual Assault Reimbursement Program), the following medical expenses may be paid for by the state if the medical examination/treatment occurs within 96 hours of the assault.

Reimbursable Medical Expenses:

1. Sexual assault evidence collection/examination kit.

2. Physician's charges for examination.

3. Emergency room charges for rape-related examination or treatment.

4. Laboratory charges associated with rape examination.

Arkansas Crime Victims Reparations

Further compensation may be available through the Arkansas Crime Victims Reparations Program. For additional information about this program, please contact ORCC or the Prosecutor’s Office.

Follow Up Medical Care

Because there are potential health complications, it is important that you have follow-up care with a physician or health care provider after you are examined at the hospital. You will be given instructions for follow-up care before you leave the hospital. 

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