What is Anonymous reporting?
The Anonymous Reporting Option is the option you, as an adult victim of sexual assault/rape over the age of 18, can choose without making an official report to law enforcement, yet you can still have forensic evidence collected, prevention of sexually transmitted infections provided, and pregnancy prevention provided if desired. The emphasis of this option is medical attention and evidence collection for the victim. Anonymous Reports must be made within 120 hours of the sexual assault.
As far as law enforcement is concerned, no crime has occurred. The forensic evidence collected will be stored for one year from the date it is collected to give you time to decide whether or not you want to convert the anonymous kit to an active law enforcement investigation.
What will happen at the hospital?
Once the medical examination and forensic evidence collection are completed, the medical provider will seal the forensic evidence collection kit with no name, address, or contact information on the outside. Your hospital patient account number will be placed on the outside of the kit for payment by SOVA and tracking purposes only. The sealed kit will be given to the Charleston County Sheriff’s Office for storage purposes only. The kit cannot be opened by anyone unless you report your case to law enforcement and initiate an active investigation. Anonymously stored sexual assault kits that are not converted to active law enforcement investigations will be destroyed one year from the date the kit was collected.
Things you should be aware of while making your decision to report anonymously:
There are two crime scenes to a sexual assault: one is your body, and the other is the physical location where the rape took place. When reporting anonymously, valuable evidence from your body will be collected during the forensic evidence collection kit and exam; but evidence left at the physical location of the crime may be lost. Witness accounts and spontaneous statements from the offender which can support your case may also be lost.
How to convert your Anonymous Report to an active law enforcement investigation:
If you decide that you want to report the rape and activate a full law enforcement investigation, you should call PAR at 745-0144. A victim advocate can assist you in reporting and activating your case. You will also need to sign a Release with the hospital, Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner Program or other medical provider that provided you with the initial medical examination and collected the evidence. A victim advocate can assist you with this process as well.
What is People Against Rape, your local Rape crisis center’s role?
You can receive confidential, no cost services from People Against Rape (PAR), your local rape crisis program regardless of your decision to report your sexual assault anonymously or to law enforcement. PAR crisis services focus on assisting you with your recovery. Services provided include: crisis counseling, support, information and 24-hour crisis lines and other services as well.
If you would like, a victim advocate can contact you anonymously one month prior to the date your evidence will be destroyed. The Victim Advocate will give you a reminder that your evidence will be destroyed in one month and notify you that you have an opportunity to activate your case. All contacts are confidential and you choose the way you would like to be contacted by completing a Preferred Method of Contact form during your Anonymous Report examination.
If you move or change your contact method and wish to be contacted after 11 months as a reminder, (example: change phone number, cell phone number, email address, home address) it is your responsibility to contact PAR to update your contact information.