What To Do If You Are Assaulted

Helpful Information if you or someone you know has been sexually assaulted:

  • First, remember that what happened is not your fault. You did not cause the assault, and no matter what happened, you did not deserve it.
  • Get to a safe place.
  • Try not to change anything at the location where the assault occurred.
  • Remember that eating or drinking, showering, brushing your teeth, going to the bathroom, and changing or altering your clothes could destroy physical evidence that may be helpful if you later decide to pursue legal action.
  • Consider contacting the Family Refuge Center  to talk about and possibly report the assault. These agencies can provide you with medical attention, emotional support, and law enforcement services and can help you explore your various options.
    • Family Refuge Center Numbers
      • Toll Free (866) 645-6334
      • Greenbrier County (304) 645-6334
      • Pocahontas County (304) 799-4400 
      • Monroe County (304) 772-5005
  • Even if you don't want to file a police report, consider receiving medical attention. A Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner (SANE) will help ensure that you are healthy, provide options to prevent pregnancy or sexually transmitted infections, and collect valuable evidence that may be useful in the future, even if you are unsure about pursuing legal action now. Physical evidence can only be collected for 96 hours post-assault, but here is no statute of limitations on reporting sexual assault in West Virginia.
  • Victims are often concerned about how the costs of the examination will be covered. The West Virginia Forensic Medical Examination Fund was established by the state legislature (WVC§61-8B-16) to pay for "all reasonable and customary costs of a forensic medical examination." No payment from the fund is provided for non-forensic procedures or treatment—therefore, victims will most likely be responsible for any medical treatment, either through private pay or private insurance. Victims who report the assault to law enforcement within 72 hours (unless just cause exists) can apply to the West Virginia Crime Victims Compensation Fund for reimbursement of out-of-pocket medical costs.
  • You have a right to be believed and to receive appropriate medical, emotional, and legal support if you choose such options.

How to support someone who has just been sexually assaulted:

  • Believe them.
  • Listen -- without judging.
  • Let them know that you support and care about them, that they are not responsible for the incident.
  • Emphasize that there is help available.
  • Let them know they are not alone.
  • Let them know about the services of the Family Refuge Center (www.familyrefugecenter.org).
  • Tell them about the Family Refuge Center crisis number answered 24-hours a day at (866) 645-633.