Following a sexual assault, it is good to get specialist medical care. In Auckland, this is available at the Pohutukawa Clinic at Greenlane for adults, and Puawaitahi in Grafton for children and young people. Call us, and we will assist you to access these services. We can also support you through the process, and you can bring a parent or friend with you for support.
There are two types of medical examinations that can take place:
A forensic medical has two purposes — to attend to your physical wellbeing and to collect any forensic evidence that may be on your body as a result of the assault. You will need to give your permission for this evidence to be handed over to the Police. If you are unsure about going ahead with a complaint to Police at the time of the medical, you have the right to withhold permission until you have made your decision. It is good to do a forensic medical as soon as possible after an assault and before you have showered or changed your clothes, though it is still useful up to seven days after the assault.
A therapeutic medical is all about your physical wellbeing. The doctor will not collect any evidence, they will just check for injuries or symptoms and provide any necessary medical care, including the Emergency Contraceptive Pill and antibiotics to stop any infections. Generally this medical is carried out if you don’t want to go to the Police, however, you are still able to make an official complaint about the assault later, if you change your mind.
It is important to remember that all of these services are optional. While it’s a good idea to talk to a doctor if you have any worries, you don’t have to use these services. If you are in the middle of the medical and wish to stop, skip a part of it or take a break, you are able to do so and should not experience any pressure from the Police, doctors, nurses or your own support people present. If you have a HELP counsellor with you, we can advocate on your behalf. You’re calling the shots here.