Sexual assault and rape are violent crimes that often leave victims feeling alone and frightened. Crimes of sexual violence are even more painful because victims must discuss very intimate details of the crime. Knowing what may happen ahead of time can reduce your anxiety and help you get through the process more comfortably. The most commonly asked questions are answered below.
Who Will Pay for My Medical Expenses?
A rape or sexual assault victim shall be examined without charge, if a police report has been filed. The hospital and physician are entitled to be paid by the Department of Health. You and your insurance company will be responsible for any other medical treatment you receive. You may be eligible for compensation for any other medical expanses not covered by insurance. (See the Criminal Injuries Compensation Board.)
Is There Mandatory Testing of the Offender for the HIV Virus?
Upon written request to the State's Attorney, a victim of a crime involving a sexual offense, or other crimes that might result in exposure to the HIV virus, may ask the court to order the accused to be tested for HIV. If you are afraid that you were exposed to this virus, talk to the State's Attorney and/or your local sexual assault counselor for guidance in your individual situation.
How Much of My Personal History Will Be Made Public in a Trial?
Evidence relating to a victim's prior sexual conduct can seldom be admitted as evidence, however, this issue varies depending on the circumstances of your case. If you have concerns about what information will be made public, you may wish to consult with a sexual assault advocate to the Victim/Witness Coordinator in your State's Attorney's Office.
Can I Recover from This Violent Assault?
Sexual assault is a life-threatening experience and may result in extreme and long lasting trauma to the victim. The physical and emotional results of this trauma generally come in three stages; however, the effects of the assault are different for each victim.
- The Acute Reaction usually occurs immediately; the most common signs of this stage are shock, disbelief, fear, anger, helplessness, mood swings, and eating or sleeping disturbances.
- The next stage is often the Outward Adjustment. This can be a temporary period where the victim reports that everything is back to normal and tries to regain control over personal feelings and life situations.
- The Integration stage most often begins with depression, followed by a renewal of Acute Reaction symptoms. The victim may become overwhelmed by the assault, make drastic life changes, and may also experience guilt.
Eventually, with emotional support if necessary, a survivor of sexual violence or other acts of violence, can work through the trauma and move past the experience and fear generated by the assault.
If you have experienced a rape or sexual assault, contact the Sexual
Assault Center listed in the Resource
Section of this website and ask for the emotional support and
legal advocacy that is available to you as you work to heal and recover
from this crime. To view a list of sex offenders in your area visit the
Sex Offender Registry
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