Who is going to be at the hospital to help me?
You will be triaged by a nurse and taken to a private area to wait
to be seen.
The Emergency Department (ED) Charge Nurse will discuss your
options of being evaluated by an ED Medical Provider or having your
needs met by the Forensic Nurse Examiner (FNE).
A patient advocate will be called in to speak with you about your
safety and emotional concerns as well as provide community
resources for victims of sexual violence.
An FNE will be called in for the Forensic Medical Exam and Evidence
Law Enforcement (police) will only be called if you want them to be
What is a Forensic Nurse Examiner (FNE)?
An FNE is a nurse who is specially trained in sexual assault forensic
care. FNE provides explanation what a forensic medical exam and
evidence collection includes:
Obtain consent for the forensic medical exam.
Document patient’s medical history and assess current medical
Document the details of the sexual assault (as given by the patient
Complete a physical assessment while simultaneously evaluating
Pictures may be taken of your body throughout the exam.
Swabs may be collected from areas on your body to obtain possible
Clothing may be collected depending on circumstances of assault.
Laboratory specimen collection may test for pregnancy, sexually
transmitted infections (STI’s), and some drug-facilitated sexual
Medications may be provided such as antibiotics for STI prevention,
hormones for pregnancy prophylaxis, or pain medicine as needed.
FNE will need to ask you several questions to understand how best to
care for you. They will ask questions about your medical history, the
sexual assault and what happened to you, and your current well-being to
assess emotional and medical needs.
FNE will ensure your readiness for discharge. Your safety is our
concern – you will not be discharged to an unsafe environment. The ED
has 24/7 capability to ensure your mental health needs can be managed.
In addition, the FNE or patient advocate will provide community
resources for support services.
Why should a Forensic Medical Exam be performed by a Forensic Nurse
FNEs have extensive forensic training to care for those who have been
Forensic Nurse Examiners are certified through the Maryland Board
FNEs thoroughly examine body for evidence and document findings in
FNEs use best practice techniques to collect and preserve forensic
FNEs are can provide expert testimony in a courtroom if necessary
FNEs provide trauma-informed care throughout entire process:
Your care will be conducted in a respectful and confidential manner
FNEs provide one-on-one care when called in to perform a forensic medical
FNEs have superior knowledge in community resources and victim
FNEs understand it is your choice to have this exam:
FNE will allow you to control how fast the exam is happening
You can stop or pause or take a break from the exam at any time
It is your body and therefore, your choice – we will respect your
How long after the assault can I wait to come in for evidence
12 years or younger – Evidence collection up to 72 hours after the
assault or abuse
13 years or older – Evidence collection up to 120 hours after the
assault or abuse
Will I get a billed for the exam?
Maybe. The State of Maryland provides grant funds to help pay for the
Forensic Medical Examinations, and most of the time the exam will be
completely free to the victim. When there is medical care provided that
is beyond the Forensic Medical Examination and Evidence Collection then
the patient or their insurance may be billed for these costs.
Do I have to talk to police? (Note: Exception regarding children as
NO, you do not need to report the assault to police in order to have an
A confidential Forensic Medical Exam and Evidence Collection can
still be done.
It is called a “Delayed” or “Jane Doe” or “Restricted” or
The Forensic Evidence kit will not be tested until you decide to
report to police.
The Forensic Evidence kit will be stored for at least 18 months at
the crime lab.
This allows you time to rest and seek support before making a
decision to report.
Yes, police and child protective services will be contacted if the
victim is a under the age of 18 years and the reported assault or abuse
states the maltreator as:
the child’s parent or caregiver,
a family or household member, or
having temporary care or custody of the child at the time of abuse
What is sexual assault or abuse?
Sexual assault is defined as any type of sexual touch that you do not
agree to. Child sexual assault or abuse can be described as any time a
child is engaged in a sexual situation or sexual activity with an older
person. For more information about types of sexual assault, abuse or
violence, please visit
What if I suspect my child has been sexually abused?
If your child tells you they have been sexually abused or assaulted:
Reassure your child that you believe them.
Ensure your child that they are not to blame.
Don’t interrogate them for more answers – let the professionals do
If the reported abuse/assault occurred less than 72 hours ago, contact
the UM BWMC Emergency Department at 410-787-4565. They can direct you
how to get your child examined.
If the reported abuse/assault occurred more than 72 hours ago, or are
unsure of when it may have occurred, call the Anne Arundel County Child
Advocacy Center at 410-421-8571. They can direct you how to get your