Forensic Medical Examination FAQs

1. What will happen in the examination?

The Doctor or Nurse will have a careful look at you to check for any injuries and make sure you are OK. Time taken to complete an examination does vary - an average time is around 1-3 hours, however only a small part of this is the physical examination itself, which may take 20 - 30 minutes. A forensic examination will only take place with your consent. The purpose of the examination is to check your health and gather any evidence.


2. Will I be seen by a female doctor or nurse?

The Bridgeway can request the services of a female doctor or nurse, however it cannot, at this time, be guaranteed that a female will be available. We will try our best to give you the choice. All of our doctors and nurses are specially trained to carry out this kind of examination sensitively and understand the trauma you have experienced. You have the option to have support throughout the examination from the female crisis worker.


3. Does the examination hurt?

No, we will do everything we can do to ensure you are as comfortable as possible. You may find some of the examination uncomfortable, however we will only conduct the examination with your support and consent. You can stop at any time you want.


4. What if I change my mind?

If, at any point, you decide that you do not want to carry on with an examination, even after it has begun, we will stop immediately.


5. Will I be able to change my clothes?

Yes, we have shower and changing facilities. You can bring a change of clothes with you if you would like or we can provide a change of clothes for you. It is sometimes helpful to take the clothes you have been wearing as evidence as this may be useful for the investigation. If you wish to shower at The Bridgeway, we can provide you with towels, a dressing gown as well as toiletries such as shampoo, conditioner, and shower gel.


6. What happens after the examination?

Part of the process is for us to spend some time with you talking about any ongoing medical care or treatment that you may need. You will be offered support by an Independent Sexual Violence Advisor (ISVA) who will support you with practical and emotional support and if the police are involved, support you prior to and during a court case.


7. What if I have taken a shower and washed my clothes?

You can still contact and attend The Bridgeway if you have taken a shower or washed your clothes. Forensic evidence can still be gathered even if you have taken a shower or washed your clothes.


8. What is a Crisis Worker?

In the event that you attend The Bridgeway for a forensic-medical examination, a crisis worker will be present. They will be the first person you meet at The Bridgeway and is there for you, to provide you with support whilst you are at the centre. If you have a medical examination, the crisis worker will assist the doctor or nurse with the labelling and packaging of any samples taken. They will also make sure that you understand and are comfortable with the examination going ahead.


9. Can I be tested for Sexually Transmitted Infections at The Bridgeway?

We strongly recommend that clients who have been raped or sexually assaulted access a full STI test. The Bridgeway does not offer an STI screen at the time of examination, as it is often too early to do this, however can make an urgent referral to your local sexual health clinic or provide you with the details directly. Please see our links page for a full list of the clinics within Cumbria. You do not have to tell the clinic why you wish to be tested.

We can provide initial preventative treatment for HIV infection and Hepatitis B. You will then need to attend your local sexual health clinic for further medication and follow-up. We can provide emergency contraception.