RCASA Advocacy Saturday – Understanding P.E.R.K. Exams and Your Options After a Sexual Assault

In Advocacy, Medical Accompaniment on May 12, 2012 at 5:00 am

Your safety and health are most important. Please consider seeing a health care provider even if you don’t want to make a report to the police right now. The health care provider can check you for injuries and talk to you about possible pregnancy concerns and/or sexually transmitted infections. If you think you might want to report the assault, the health care provider can also collect evidence of the assault from your body. This is called a P.E.R.K. exam.

What is a PERK exam?

P.E.R.K. stands for Physical Evidence Recovery Kit. A P.E.R.K. is a special medical exam given to people who have been sexually assaulted to collect evidence that may be helpful in the investigation and prosecution of the sexual assault. If you think you might want to report the assault to the police, the sooner you have the evidence collected, the better.

How soon should a P.E.R.K. exam be done?

A P.E.R.K. exam should be done within 72 hours or three days since the assault.

Do I have to have a P.E.R.K. exam ?

No. If you have decided that you do not want to make a report to law enforcement now or in the future, then having evidence collected by having a P.E.R.K. exam might not be the right choice for you. Advocates from the Rappahannock Council Against Sexual Assault (RCASA) can help you think through the choice to have or decline a P.E.R.K. exam.

If I don’t have a P.E.R.K. exam, will the police be called?

By law, health care providers DO NOT have to report sexual assaults to the police unless were certain weapons used during the assault (Virginia Code: 54.1-2967) Note: health care providers may have to report the sexual assault if you are under 18 or an adult who depends on another adult for care.

Who will pay for the P.E.R.K. examination?

The Commonwealth of Virginia will pay for the cost of the P.E.R.K.  exam. You do not have to participate in an investigation to have the P.E.R.K. paid for. Your insurance will be billed first if you have Medicaid, CHAMPUS, Tri-care or another type of federal insurance. If you do not want the insurance information to be sent to your home, please tell the health care provider.

If you or someone you know has been a victim of sexual assault please contact the Rappahannock Council Against Sexual Assault (RCASA) at 540-371-1666. Information will be kept confidential.


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