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Seeing a doctor or nurse

We realise seeing a doctor or a nurse can be stressful but your health is important to us so we’ll do all we can to make it as painless as possible.

You’ll be asked to give your consent to a medical examination.

All of the doctors and nurses used by Essex Police are specially trained and will do their best to make the process go as smoothly as possible, but we understand this is entirely your decision. Wherever possible you’ll also be asked if you would prefer to see a male or female doctor.

Each of our sympathy suites has a medical examination room much like the one you’d see at your local doctors.

The doctor or nurse will explain what will happen, find out a little about your medical history and ask you to sign a consent form.

First reactions

It’s natural that your first reaction may be to wash and change your clothes but try not to do this before samples are taken.

Try to avoid brushing your teeth, going to the toilet and smoking too but don’t worry if you’ve already done some of these things as its likely there may still be evidence to collect.

The doctor or nurse will take samples internally and externally and send them to a laboratory for testing.

Your officer will be with you but you can ask a close friend or relative to come for extra support should you wish. DNA evidence can come back from the laboratory within 24 hours.

The doctor will also take notes of any injuries you have and treat them if necessary.

After the examination

After the examination you will be able to take a hot shower. Each of the sympathy suites has a bathroom with toiletries and fresh clothes.

You will be asked if you are happy for us to take your clothing to be examined in a laboratory. This may produce information to help officers with their investigations.

Your health

After a sexual assault you may be at risk of pregnancy so the doctor will talk to you about that. If necessary you will be offered immediate treatment but you can be referred to your local surgery or clinic if you feel more comfortable.

It’s also important to check you’ve not been passed a sexually transmitted infection so we can arrange a private appointment at a GU clinic. We understand it can be unpleasant and embarrassing but we’ll do everything we can to make it as convenient as possible and make sure you receive the best possible care.

If possible you should have the first check within 1 or 2 days of the attack, a second about 10 days later and possibly a third some time after that.

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