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Physical Evidence Recovery Kit

What is it?

  • This exam is designed to assist the examining physician or nurse in the collection of evidence for analysis by the Virginia Division of Forensic Science. If the assault took place within 72 hours of the time of the medical exam, this kit can be used.
  • Physical evidence to check for semen from oral and/or anal penetration can be collected only within 24 hours of the assault. If the sexual assault occurred more than the 24 to 72 hours prior to the medical exam, evidence still may be collected without using the kit.
  • A PERK exam can be performed after a sexual assault. The evidence collected can be held until a decision is made about pursuing legal action. It is recommended that if you pursue this option you consult with a University Counselor or Project Horizon about how to obtain this exam.
  • Before the medical exam, the nurse or health care provider will ask for details about the assault. Even though these questions will be very difficult to answer, the information given may be helpful in identifying the assailant, in providing the survivor with optimum care, and in documenting the assault.
  • Information is needed regarding the type of assault or penetration, such as oral, vaginal, or anal. The student will be asked where the assault occurred, such as in a car, on grass or carpet, etc.
  • The medical staff will need information about the survivor’s medical history regarding past and present health conditions, including the date of her last period, contraceptive history, and the date of their most recent voluntary sexual contact.
  • Survivors have the right to refuse the PERK exam.
  • All procedures should be explained to the survivor so that they understand why they are being done. If not, it’s OK to ask the nurse or doctor to explain what they are doing. This may help the survivor maintain some feeling of control during the medical procedures.
  • Sometimes it may be difficult to talk to Emergency Room staff. A member of University Counseling will accompany the student if they desire. Contact Student Health (540-458-8401) after hours. Or if a student prefers, a Project Horizon staff member can be called at 463-2594.
Information adopted from VAASA manual, 1989 and PCAR brochure entitled, “Rape: Seeking Medical Care,” VCU’s Sexual Assault Survivor’s Handbook.