A Guide to Reporting Sexual Assault Webpage

Deciding whether or not to report sexual assault is a personal decision. Some survivors say that reporting the assault and seeking justice against their assailant helped them recover and regain a sense of control over their lives. Either way, understanding your rights, knowing what resources are available for survivors, and being knowledgeable about the step-by-step process can help make the experience less intimidating.

Steps to Reporting



 This type of advocate holds privilege which means by law, they cannot share your information with anyone without your consent or the judge’s order. They provide FREE services to victim-survivors and secondary victims (e.g. children, partners, parent-guardians, etc.) whether you report the assault or not. Community advocates offer twenty-four-hour access through a crisis line. There are no limitations on services, and you decide when the services end. 


System-based advocates DO NOT hold privilege. This means that any information shared with the system-based advocates regarding the assault will be shared with the investigators. They provide services for cases that are processed through the criminal justice system. Advocacy is specific to moving you through the legal system. Services are specific to you, and they are limited to the length of the criminal justice process.


As a victim-survivor, you have the following rights:

  • Consult an advocate or designate an attendant during a medical exam or interview.
  • Have counsel present during any forensic exam, investigation, interview, or interactions with representatives of the legal or criminal justice system.
  • Request to be interviewed by a law enforcement representative of the gender of their choice.

  • A prompt genetic marker analysis, and has the right to know if the DNA yielded a match with another kit or a person already in CODIS. (Kits are to be tested within 120 days.)
  • Know where their kit is, at all times, and receive access to Trak-It which will enable you to track your kit.


You have several options when reporting sexual assault:

Call 911:

If you are in immediate danger, call 911. Help will come to you no matter where you are.

Contact the Local Police Department:

Call the local police station directly or go to the station in person. If you are on a college campus, you may be able to contact the campus police. If the crime happens in an Indigenous Nation, call Tribal police to report it. It can take longer for Tribal and rural police to arrive due to staffing and distance restrictions.

Visit a Medical Facility:

If you have injuries from the assault, you can tell the medical personnel treating you that you wish to report the assault. To find a local facility that is prepared to work with survivors, please call the National Sexual Assault Hotline at 800-656-HOPE (4673).

If you consent to reporting the assault:

  • An officer will come to you to take a report.
  • The officer will arrange a sexual assault forensic exam.
  • Once the exam is completed, the advocate will assist you in completing the Victims of Crime application, developing a safety plan together, and accessing additional resources.
  • Law Enforcement will then investigate the case and, if there is evidence, turn it over to the district attorney’s office for review for prosecution. 
  • If the case is turned over to the DA’s office, the survivor will be assigned a system-based advocate, who can assist you through the court process.

If you DO NOT consent to reporting the assault:

  • The officer may call an advocate and ask them to speak with you.
  • The advocate can only talk with you if you agree to talk with them. The advocate is there to support you, share what happens in an exam, and answer any questions you have.


A sexual assault forensic exam (SAFE) is a physical examination to collect evidence from your body and clothes after a sexual assault. SAFEs are conducted by trained Sexual Assault Nurse Examiners (SANE).


If you consent to the sexual assault forensic exam, law enforcement or a person of your choice will bring you to the exam. You can also drive yourself. You MUST be able to consent to an exam. Under NO circumstances will we move forward with the exam if we do not have your consent.


In some rural and Indigenous Nations, a mobile SANE is available for SAFE. In rural and Indigenous Nations without a mobile SANE, we will do our best to schedule your exam at the closest location.


During the exam, you may choose to have a support person in the room with you during your forensic exam as it may take several hours. If you choose not to have anyone in the room, it will just be you and the medical provider. You also have the right to stop the exam at any point during the process.

During a SAFE:

  • First and foremost, a SANE will assess you for any life-threatening or high-acuity physical or mental health concerns.
  • The SANE will collect DNA evidence that can be used in an investigation and potential cases. Evidence may include hair combings, swabs from body areas with potential DNA deposits, genital swabs, fingernail swabs/clippings, clothing, etc.
  • The SANE nurse will ask you questions to document the assault.
  • During the medical portion of the exam, injuries or other medical conditions will be identified and treated.
  • Medications for STI prophylaxis and pregnancy prevention will be offered prior to the completion of the exam.

After the exam:

  • You will be discharged with a safety plan as well as a follow-up appointment if deemed necessary.
  • You will receive a follow-up call from an advocate or nurse within 72 hours of the exam to discuss overall well-being, continued safety, STI prophylaxis compliance, and possible lab findings pertaining to STI.

You will not be charged for the SAFE exam. If, for some reason, you are transported from a hospital or other medical facility, please work with your advocate to report those costs to Victims of Crimes (VOC). 


Once the exam is completed, the advocate will assist you in completing the Victims of Crime application. The VOC Program provides assistance to qualified victim-survivors of violent crime in Nevada.


Victims of Crime Compensation may also be available to help pay for any follow-up medical care, counseling, or other services related to the sexual assault. It will also assist with the costs of therapy for secondary victims.

If a sexual assault happens in an Indigenous Nation, the Inter-Tribal Council of Nevada provides Victims of Crime resources, services, and benefits to Native American families in need. The Victims of Crime intake must take place within six months of the crime.


    • No exam: You have a choice to not get an exam. Exams will never be given without your consent.
    • Medical only: During this exam, you will only be treated for physical or mental health concerns.
    • Full forensic: During a full forensic exam, a SAFE will be completed and a police report will be filed. DNA evidence will be collected and may include hair combings, swabs from body areas with potential DNA deposits, genital swabs, fingernail swabs/clippings, clothing, etc.
    • Jane Doe: This exam collects the same evidence as a full forensic. The evidence will be kept for 20 years, giving you time to choose whether or not you wish to report.  While you have the right to report a sexual assault, you also have the right NOT to report the crime to the police. If you do not report a sexual assault initially, you have up to 20 years to report it to the police. In Nevada, we have four exam options:

  • Your kit will only be tested if you file a police report. The statute of limitations for reporting a sexual assault is 20 years, so your kit will be stored that entire time in case you choose to report later.To report after a Jane Doe exam, call your local police department. Or, call 988 to be connected to an advocate who will assist you through the process. If the sexual assault happened in an Indigenous Nation, call your community Tribal police to start the process.


Some reasons why you may not want to report your assault to law enforcement are:

  • Fear you will not be believed: We are here for you, and we believe you. In fact, only 1% of sexual assault reports are false.
  • Previous negative interactions with law enforcement: We understand your hesitation not to trust law enforcement. We will stand beside you. 
  • You are undocumented and fear law enforcement will call ICE: As a crime victim, you are protected from involvement with ICE even if you choose not to cooperate with law enforcement. 
  • Fear the perpetrator will find you and assault you again: Any interaction between the perpetrator or their attorney regarding the case will have your personal information redacted. 
  • Fear of examination: It’s normal to have fear around the exam. Please watch what happens in a SANE exam video for detailed information. 

  • Fear of family finding out: An advocate is there to listen and help you work through your fears. It’s your choice who you share it with. 
  • Wanting to forget it ever happened: We understand wanting to forget it ever happened.  If you change your mind, services are available to help you walk through this traumatic event, and it will be of no charge to you. You can access these services at any time. 
  • You were under the influence of illegal drugs and are in fear of going to jail: Law enforcement cannot and will not arrest you. There will not be a drug test unless you feel you were given a date rape drug. Doing illegal drugs does not give someone the right to sexually assault you. Did you know that you cannot consent when under the influence?  


Suicide & Crisis Hotline

Call 988


Emergency Services

Call 911


Victims of Crime (VOC)



VOC Inter-Tribal Council of Nevada


24/7 National Sexual Assault Hotline

800-656-HOPE (4673)


SANE Exam Request Phone Numbers in Nevada


 Signs of Hope: (702) 366-1640 (Southern Nevada) 

 Crisis Support Services of Nevada: (775) 221-7600 (Northern Nevada) 

 Sexual Assault Response Advocate: (775) 883-7654 or Text Line: 20121