Forensic Exams

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UVA is the only hospital in the area that offers forensic services. Our forensics services team includes specially trained nurses who are dedicated to delivering the highest level of care, empathy and discretion to you or a loved one who has experienced:

  • Sexual assault
  • Domestic violence
  • Strangulation 

We also offer these services to: 

  • Children who have been physically or sexually abused
  • Elders (or dependent adults) who have experienced physical abuse 

Your information will not be released to law enforcement without your permission, unless mandated by law.

Emergency Services

Sexual Assault

If you or someone you know has been sexually assaulted within the last five days, go to UVA Emergency Department immediately for:

  • Medical treatment
  • Forensic evaluation
  • Documentation of injuries 

If possible, avoid the following until after the sexual assault forensic examination:

  • Eating
  • Drinking
  • Smoking
  • Toileting
  • Changing clothes
  • Showering or bathing 

If it has been more than five days, you still need urgent medical care. Please seek care from one of the following as soon as possible:

  • Your primary care provider
  • Your local department of health
  • The Emergency Department

If you are not sure that you need an exam right away, call us.

You can also call the SARA hotline for anonymous consultation: 434.977.7273

If a Child Has Been a Victim of Physical or Sexual Abuse

If you believe that a child has been abused in any way, or if there are visible injuries or acute illnesses from physical abuse, report the abuse to your local social services department or law enforcement immediately. 

  • If a sexual event happened within five days, the child should be seen immediately at UVA Emergency Department for evaluation and care.
  • If a sexual event happened more than five days ago, the investigator will schedule a non-emergent exam with the forensics team for the child.

Adult Abuse & Neglect

If an elder or an adult who relies on others for care has been abused in any way, immediately report it to: 

  • Department of social services
  • Law enforcement

If the adult has injuries, bring him or her to UVA Emergency Department for:

  • Medical treatment
  • Forensic evaluation
  • Documentation of his or her injuries

If you are not sure that you need an exam right away, call.

Domestic Violence

If you or a loved one has sustained injuries from a significant other or a family member, go to the UVA Emergency Department  for:

  • Medical treatment
  • Forensic evaluation
  • Documentation of your injuries 

At UVA Emergency Department we will discuss situation-specific available services for domestic violence.


Strangulation is a very dangerous event that can cause potentially lethal injury without any external signs of damage. If you or someone you love has been choked by another person, it is a medical emergency and that person should call 911 or go to UVA Emergency Department immediately for: 

  • Medical treatment
  • Forensic evaluation
  • Documentation of injuries

Forensic services such as evidence collection are available within 72 hours of a strangulation event. However, if more than 72 hours have passed after the strangulation event, you should still seek care. 

Other Forensic Services

We also offer these services:

  • Scheduled exams for children who may have been victims of sexual abuse
  • Follow-up exams to document new injuries or changes to injuries
  • Forensic examination
  • Forensic photography
  • Evidence collection
  • Pregnancy & STD testing
  • STD treatment/prophylaxis