If you’ve recently experienced sexual violence, here are some options available to you.
Your safety is most important:
Are you able to get to a safe place? This can mean different things for different people, whether that be finding a place where you can go to seek help or leaving the space if possible. Once you’re able to, you can call the hotline for information on your options.
If you are seriously injured, go to the nearest hospital.
If you are not in immediate danger:
You may choose to report what happened and/or get a Forensic Rape Exam (FRE) at Philadelphia Sexual Assault Resource Center (PSARC), or you may choose not to. Whatever choice you make is absolutely valid.
Note that if you’d like to access PEP, emergency contraception and/or other emergency prophylactics, you have 72 hours to seek this care.
If you choose to get a Forensic Rape Exam (FRE):
We know that after a traumatic experience you may want to shower or change clothes. If you can, make sure not to shower, bathe, or wash your clothes before the FRE.
If you’ve already done so, that’s okay, you’ll still be able to get an FRE done. If you want to change out of the clothes you were wearing, make sure to place them in a paper bag (not a plastic one).
Forensic evidence collection is best done within 72 hours of the assault and best collected immediately following an assault.
Getting to PSARC:
You can call WOAR’s hotline at 215-985-3333. We’ll call + pay for an Uber ride to and from PSARC.
You can also call 911 if you prefer that option, but we recognize that doesn’t feel safe for many people in our community.
Once you get to PSARC:
Once you get to PSARC, a Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner (SANE) will be there to conduct the FRE. The SANE will collect evidence, assess your health, provide first aid, treat any injuries, and provide you medication.
Note that you can get an FRE done anonymously. You can also get an FRE without filing a police report. If you are interested in filing a report, you can meet with an SVU detective while you are at PSARC.
Support While at PSARC:
Due to COVID, our Crisis Advocates are currently not at PSARC, but you can call the hotline to be connected to a Crisis Advocate (9-5 PM, M-F) or Sexual Assault Volunteer Counselor (5PM – 9AM, M-F & All Weekend). They can stay on the phone with you during the process.
If you choose not to call the hotline, a WOAR Crisis Advocate will follow-up with you via phone within a week if you give the SANE permission to share your contact information with us.
Having to describe what happened to you to detectives and/or getting a Forensic Rape Exam (FRE) done can be really hard and potentially retraumatizing for victims/survivors.
We recognize this, and if you want to talk about your experience or get support while you’re there you can always call us.
What happened is not your fault, and whatever you choose to do is valid.
What’s important is making the right choice for you.
As above, safety is the first priority. If the child is in need of urgent or acute medical care, call 911 or go directly to:
- St. Christopher’s Hospital – 3601 East Erie Ave, Philadelphia (888-247-4754); or
- Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) – 324 S. 34th St., Philadelphia (800-879-2467)
At the hospital, describe what happened. The hospital will alert 911.
If you initially call 911 and the child is not seriously injured, as with adult cases, a police officer will offer to transport the child and caregiver adult to the Philadelphia Safety Collaborative (300 E. Hunting Park Ave., Philadelphia; 215-425-1625). This is where several agencies are located:
- the police department’s Special Victims Unit (SVU: 215-685-3251);
- PSARC (Philadelphia Sexual Assault Resource Center);
- Philadelphia’s Department of Human Services (DHS); and
- Philadelphia Children’s Alliance (PCA).
As an alternative, you may also call SVU directly (24/7: 215-685-3251) and go there, day or night, without a police officer providing transportation. No reports are taken over the phone.
With all cases of child sexual abuse, whether the first contact is through a children’s hospital, 911, or calling SVU, the child and family are linked to DHS and PCA. Within hours (or a few days at the most), a child forensic interview occurs at the Philadelphia Safety Collaborative (described above). Planning is underway for children to receive forensic medical exams at this site, as well.
See the Court & Legal Information pages for more information.
WOAR Victim Response Services
The Hotline provides support, information, referral guidance, and the coordination of therapy services.