If you have experienced physical or sexual violence, it’s important to get medical care as soon as possible. Even if you feel fine, you may be injured or at risk of contracting a sexually transmitted infection or becoming pregnant
To reach the HUPD in an emergency, call 617-495-1212. Community members are strongly encouraged to store 617-495-1212 into their cell phone speed dial list
If a community member calls 911 from an on-campus phone, the call will go to either the Cambridge Police or the Boston Police depending on their location. As the HUPD maintains a good working relationship with both departments, they will typically inform the HUPD of the 911 call. Community members who call 911 from a cell phone will be connected with the Massachusetts State Police, which then will transfer the call to the appropriate jurisdiction, unless the incident occurred on state-owned property (for example, the area around the Charles River and the Fenway).
If you have an urgent health problem, physical or emotional, that requires prompt attention but is not a life-threatening emergency:
- Visit HUHS Urgent Care, open 24 hours a day; Monday-Friday, 7:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. in the Smith Campus Center; Monday-Friday 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 a.m. and all day weekends and holidays, Pound Hall, 1563 Massachusetts Avenue; 617-495-5711.
- HUPD will transport you to HUHS; you do not need to share with HUPD the reason you need to seek medical attention. Call HUPD at 617-495-1212.
- OSAPR will provide transportation and/or staff member accompaniment to an area hospital of your choice. Call OSAPR’s 24-hour hotline at 617-495-910
If you have questions about your medical options, you can discuss them with the following resources (additional community resources available here):
Timelines to keep in mind if you are thinking about seeking medical care:
- If you suspect that you were given any type of drug, testing should be administered as soon as possible as different drugs will be detected for different periods of time after they have been ingested. Similarly, clinicians can best retrieve medical evidence within days after an assault.
- For pregnancy prevention, you must begin the medication within 72 hours of the assault.
- HIV emergency post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP) should be started as soon as possible for maximum effectiveness, and must be started within 72 hours of the potential exposure
Medical technology is evolving rapidly and may cause the window for treatment and evidence collection to expand. Contact a sexual assault nurse examiner (SANE) program (at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and certain other local hospitals) for the most up-to-date information. Specially-trained SANE nurses are skilled in performing exams and collecting evidence from patients who may have experienced a sexual assault. They also can help you address pregnancy, HIV, and related concerns. For a full list of hospitals with SANE nurses, visit the Boston Region Designated Hospitals on the Commonwealth of Massachusetts Department of Health and Human Services website
Some guidelines for evidence preservation:
- Do not bathe, douche, smoke, change your clothes, or clean the area where you were assaulted before evidence is collected.
- Write down everything you can remember about the alleged perpetrator, including a physical description, the use of force or threats, if applicable, and any information you remember concerning the person’s identity.
- Save copies of email messages, text messages, instant messages, social networking pages, pictures, logs, or any other documents that could be helpful in an investigation of the incident.
Both HUPD and HUHS can advise and assist you in the preservation of evidence. Even if you do not believe you want to pursue criminal action, it is good to retain evidence in case you want it available late
Keep your options open. Medical professionals can collect and preserve physical evidence. It is up to you whether, when, and with whom you share that evidence.