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What to Expect - Common Questions and Concerns About The Process of Reporting

January 11, 2016

 

Common questions that can arise at the outset of a police investigation into sexual assault cases.

 

WILL THE POLICE ASK ME A LOT OF QUESTIONS?

 

Yes.  The police need to collect all of the evidence that they can.  They are concerned about you, enforcing the law and finding your attacker.

 

IS A MEDICIAL EXAMINATION NECESSARY?

 

You should obtain medical attention as quickly as possible.  The examination will ensure that you receive prompt and thorough treatment.  It will also allow the doctor to conduct tests and obtain samples for use in court.

 

CAN I GO TO THE HOSPITAL WITHOUT CALLING THE POLICE?

 

Yes, however calling the police should be your first step.

 

WILL THE POLICE WANT TO KEEP MY CLOTHING?

 

Your clothes may be needed for evidence, so they may suggest that you arrange for someone to bring you clothes from home.

 

WILL I HAVE TO BE PHOTOGRAPHED?

 

Photographs are used as evidence of your sexual assault.  Pictures may need to be taken of your injuries at the hospital or police station.

 

WHY DO I HAVE TO GO TO THE POLICE STATION?

 

You will be asked to go to the police station (usually after your medical exam) in order to make a statement, which is a record of your complaint.

 

If you are not well enough to go to the police station other arrangements will be made for you.

 

Your statement includes everything you can remember about being sexually assaulted.

 

The police will want to know as much detail as possible as your statement is the basis of their investigation.

 

They will ask you to write out what you told them or they will type up the conversation. 

 

You will then be asked to read and sign your statement.

 

Before you leave the police station, ask the police officers for their names and phone numbers.  You may want to call them about details you forgot to give them or you may have questions that later come to mind.

 

You may also want to ask them or your local Victim Services for a Victim Impact Statement form, which will provide you with an opportunity to have input at the time of sentencing.

 

WILL I STILL BE INVOLVED IN THE POLICE INVESTIGATION?

 

Yes.  As soon as possible, the police will go to the scene of the assault to gather necessary evidence.  They may ask you to be there.

 

If you do not know who attacked you, the police may also ask that you look at photos of people, view a lineup of people or describe your attackers features to a police artist.

 

IF I DIDN'T REPORT THE SEXUAL ASSAULT WHEN IT HAPPENED CAN I STILL CALL THE POLICE?

 

Yes.  It is never too late to report a crime.

 

* Information sourced through the Alberta Solicitor General

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