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Sexual Assault: How to Get Help

I was just sexually assaulted. What should I do?

Get help immediately. Call 911. Police officers will come to where you are and take you to a hospital, so that you can be treated and DNA evidence can be collected. The hospital will photograph any injuries.   

If you don’t want to report what happened to you, you should still go to the hospital, both for your own health AND so evidence can be collected, which will make a stronger case if you later decide to make a report. Be sure to tell a family member or friend at once. Seek advice from someone you trust, so that you feel safe and get medical attention. You can also call the Sex Crimes Unit at the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office for guidance during normal business hours. The number to call is 212-335-9373.

I was sexually assaulted in the past, but I never reported it. Is there anything I can do?

Even if you were sexually assaulted in the past, you can still make a report, either by calling NYPD’s rape hotline, 212-267-RAPE (7273) or the District Attorney’s hotline, 212-335-9373.

I'm not sure if what happened to me is a sexual assault. What should I do? 

Some victims of sexual assault may be unsure if a crime was committed. For instance, some victims do not know that in this country a husband may not force his wife to have sex with him. Some victims may not remember clearly what happened to them, particularly when drinking is involved. If you think you may have been sexually assaulted, you should make a report.  

I'm not sure I can talk about what happened to me. 

The NYPD and New York County District Attorney’s Office have special sex crimes units with detectives and lawyers trained to handle these cases. They have a lot of experience and are trained to be sensitive to your concerns as a survivor of sexual assault. They will make you comfortable, explain the steps of the process to you, and answer your questions. Most of all, they understand that what happened to you is not your fault.

What happens when an arrest is made? 

If you know who attacked you, the police should be able to make an arrest. Even if the person is a stranger to you, other evidence may be able to identify him. You may need to go to the police station to view a line-up or help the detectives with parts of the investigation. During the investigation or after the arrest, an Assistant District Attorney in the Sex Crimes Unit will be assigned to your case. That ADA will work with you from the beginning to the end of your case. 
The criminal case begins with the defendant being brought before a judge, who will decide whether or not to set bail. An ADA can ask the judge to issue an order of protection. This order will tell your assailant that he may not come near you, or contact you in any way. We will give you a copy of this order. Although in most cases the defendants plead guilty, some do go to trial. The ADA assigned to your case will get you ready to testify, if that happens.  

I never saw the face of the person who attacked me. Should I still report this?

In some cases, the victim never sees the face of the person who did the attack. DNA evidence can prove who did the crime, even if you can’t identify anyone. Evidence collected by the police at the crime scene such as bed linens, clothing, and items touched by the offender, plus physical evidence collected at the hospital, can identify the person who committed the crime. The police and the District Attorney’s Office can also gather other types of physical evidence, such as surveillance videos and telephone and computer records, that can help identify your attacker.

Sex Assault Scenarios

Wanda was walking home from work one night when a man ran up behind her, threatened her with a knife, and dragged her into an alley. He sexually assaulted her and stole her ATM card after forcing her to give him her PIN number. After he ran away, she called 911 and was taken to the hospital. Detectives got video of the man trying to withdraw money using her ATM card and DNA evidence collected at the hospital matched him. He was arrested and convicted.
Samantha and Michael have been married for twelve years and they have two children. Michael has been violent with Samantha since the birth of their first child and often forces her to have sex. Samantha never reported this because Michael told her she could not be “raped” by her own husband. Recently, Michael assaulted Samantha, injuring her so badly that she had to go to the hospital. At the hospital, she learned that rape is a crime even within a marriage. Samantha reported the crime. Michael was arrested and prosecuted.
Alexandra is a freshman attending college in New York City. She went to a club where she had a lot to drink. She has no memory until she awoke in a strange apartment the next morning. Her tights were torn and she felt as though she may have been sexually assaulted. She immediately went to the hospital where a rape kit and toxicology kit were taken. The District Attorney’s Office is now investigating to determine whether they can prove what happened to her and who may be responsible.

Our Office's Witness Aid Services Unit and Northern Manhattan Office can provide or help you obtain a variety of services, including:

•       Individual or group counseling
•       Appointments for medical examination or treatment
•       Transportation to court proceedings
•       Advocacy on your behalf with other agencies
•       Introductions to other crisis counseling agencies

How to contact us:

New York County District Attorney’s Office Sex Crimes Unit
80 Centre Street
New York, NY 10013
212-335-9373 (Business Hours Hotline)
Northern Manhattan Office
Located in the Harlem State Office Building
163 West 125th Street
7th Floor
New York, NY 10027
Witness Aid Services Unit
100 Centre Street
Room 231
New York, NY 10013
212-335-9500 (TTY)

Useful Numbers: 

Bellevue Hospital Center
Rape Crisis Program
1st Avenue at 27th Street
Beth Israel Medical Center
Rape Crisis Intervention Program 
317 East 17th Street
Harlem Hospital
Center for Victim Support SAFE Center
506 Lenox Avenue
Main Line: 212-939-4621
Mt. Sinai Hospital 
Sexual Assault Violence Intervention Program
One Gustav Levy Place
Main Line: 212-423-2140
New York Presbyterian Hospital (formerly Columbia Presbyterian)
DOVE Program/ Social Work HP2
622 West 168th St.
Main Line: 212-305-9060
New York Presbyterian Hospital (formerly New York Cornell)
Victim Intervention Program 
525 East 68th Street
Hotline: 212-746-9414 (24 hours, 7 days a week) 
St. Luke’s Roosevelt Hospital
Rape Crisis Intervention Program
411 West 114th Street
Main Line: 212-523-4728
NYPD Sex Crimes Report Line
Main Line: 212-267-RAPE
Sexual Assault Victims Resources: 
Safe Horizon Sexual Assault Hotline
866-689-HELP (4357) (24-Hour Hotline) 
Provides comprehensive services to victims of rape and sexual assault that range from in-house assistance to referrals for services that range from medical assistance to counseling. Services are available citywide in English, Spanish, French, Arabic, and other languages.
Sanctuary for Families 
Provides domestic violence victims and their children with shelter/housing assistance, counseling, advocacy, referrals, support groups, and legal services. Services are available in English, Spanish, French, and other languages. 
Barrier-Free Living, Inc
212-533-4358 (voice / TYY hotline),
Provides services to disabled sexual assault and domestic violence victims, including advocacy, individual counseling, support groups, skills training, shelter referrals and help in obtaining orders of protection. Services are available citywide in English, Spanish, and Sign Language. 
New York Asian Women’s Center
212-732-5230 (24-Hour Hotline) 
Provides crisis intervention, safe shelter, counseling, advocacy, and community education with specific consideration to unique issues faced by Asian battered women. Services are available in English, Chinese, Hindi, and other Asian languages or dialects. 
New York City Anti-Violence Project
212-714-1141(24-Hour Hotline),
Provides services to gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender victims, including counseling, advocacy for legal issues, support groups, and community education. 
Please note this resource list is for informational purposes only, and is not intended to be a recommendation of any of the specific services provided by the programs. This does not list every resource available to sexual assault victims in New York City.