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Medical Examination

If you would like the sexual assault to be investigated, it is recommended a forensic medical examination is carried out as soon as possible.  If you wish to have an examination you should try to avoid showering or changing clothes before-hand. For seafarers this is likely to be impractical, but forensic evidence can still be collected up to 7 days after the assault, even after you have showered and changed clothes. The underwear worn in the 24 hours following sexual assault can also provide forensic evidence, even if you showered during that time.

As a seafarer, it is unlikely that you will be able to arrange this without the help of the Master and the Agent. If you are unwilling to discuss this with the Master, you could try to contact the local Seafarer’s Centre, Mission to Seafarers, Stella Maris etc. to ask for assistance in getting an appointment at a local examination centre.

We recognise that the chances of a merchant seafarer obtaining a forensic medical examination in a foreign port are small, and this is an area we will continue to investigate. For now, here are links to find help in the UK and USA.

Find Sexual Assault Referral Centres in the UK

Find Sexual Assault Service Providers in the USA

Even if you do not wish to have a forensic medical examination carried out, you should consider seeking medical attention as you may be at risk of pregnancy or sexually transmitted infections.

This link from Treetops SARC in the UK explains the typical process at a Sexual Assault Referral Centre; from booking an appointment, to being met by a crisis worker on your arrival, through to reporting to the Police if you choose. https://www.solent.nhs.uk/sarc/how-can-we-help/what-happens-next/. Services in many countries in the world will work in a similar way, but you should be aware that not all countries will have services such as these available, so local advice should be sought.

The following links explains forensic medical examinations in more detail.

FAQs from the Faculty of Forensic and Legal Medicine of the Royal College of Physicians (UK)

https://www.rainn.org/articles/rape-kit (USA)

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