REPORTING A SEXUAL ASSAULT
If you have been a victim of a sexual assault, you have the right to make a report to law enforcement where the sexual assault happened. If you would like to talk with an advocate about your rights or options for reporting, please call Central MN Sexual Assault Center’s 24-hour phone line at 320-251-4357. A Sexual Assault Advocate from CMSAC can accompany you to make a report to law enforcement if the assault happened in CMSAC’s four county area of Stearns, Benton, Sherburne, or Wright (see list of law enforcement agencies below for contact information).
SEXUAL ASSAULT EVIDENCE COLLECTION KITS AND MEDICAL FORENSIC EXAMS
The St. Cloud Hospital, Buffalo Hospital, CentraCare Health-Monticello, and Fairview-Northland-Princeton are committed to providing comprehensive care to victims of rape, sexual assault, and other sex crimes. These Hospital Emergency Trauma Center’s follow a comprehensive Sexual Assault Community Care program, which is a partnership between the Central MN Sexual Assault Center and the local hospital’s.
These programs are staffed 24 hours-a-day, 7 days-a-week by nurses, physician assistants, doctors, and sexual assault advocates, which provide medical forensic evidence collection. Sexual Assault Evidence Collection exams are available to victims within 120 hours of an incident. If the sexual assault occurred more than five days ago, it is still important for a victim to have follow-up medical care, there are resources listed below for obtaining that care at local clinics for free or reduced cost.
Federal legislation mandates that regardless of whether or not a victim chooses to make a report to law enforcement, s/he has a right to seek a forensic medical examination following a sexual assault at a local hospital free of charge. In Minnesota, the county that the sexual assault occurred in is responsible for covering these costs. This does not cover the cost of treatment; however Central MN Sexual Assault Center is available to assist a sexual assault victim in applying for Minnesota Crime Victim’s Reparations funding.
St. Cloud Hospital, Buffalo Hospital, CentraCare Health-Monticello, and Fairview-Northland-Princeton Sexual Assault Services
- Evidence collection by nurses, physician assistants, and/or doctors, for incidences of sexual assault.
- Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs) testing/screening and prophylactic treatment for STIs/HIV and pregnancy.
- Support services by victim advocates from the Central MN Sexual Assault Center, 320-251-4357.
- Referrals to counseling, emergency funds, and crime victim compensation/reparations.
- Follow-up care and referrals at the Central MN Sexual Assault Center, 15 Riverside Drive NE, St. Cloud, MN 56304.
All hospitals are required to treat for sexual assault. The following hospitals are in CMSAC’s four county region, Stearns, Benton, Sherburne and Wright, and would be able to complete a sexual assault evidence collection kit:
St. Cloud Hospital: 320-255-5656
Buffalo Hospital: 763-682-1212
CentraCare Health-Monticello: 763-295-2945
Fairview-Northland Hospital-Princeton: 763-389-1313
Albany Area Hospital: 320-845-2121
Melrose Hospital: 320-256-4231
St. Michael Hospital-Sauk Centre: 320-352-2221
Paynesville Community Hospital: 320-243-3767
Resources in Central Minnesota
Planned Parenthood: 320-252-9504, 451 East St. Germain Street, St. Cloud, MN 56304. Provides emergency contraception and medical follow-up on a sliding fee scale.
St. Cloud State University Women’s Center: 320-308-4958, file campus sexual assault complaints, provide information and referral, support counseling, support groups, and advocacy including legal and law enforcement support.
Student Health Services: If you are a university or college student, your school may have its own health services which provide health care at a lower cost to students.
For questions regarding the prosecution of a sexual assault case, call the County Attorney’s Office in the County where the assault occurred, Central MN counties listed below:
Benton County Attorney’s Office: 320-968-5182, 531 Dewey Street, Foley, MN 56329
Sherburne County Attorney’s Office: 763-241-2565, 13880 Highway 10, Elk River, MN 55330
Stearns County Attorney’s Office: 320-656-3880, 705 Courthouse Square, St. Cloud, MN 56303
Wright County Attorney’s Office: 763-682-7340, 10 2nd Street NW, Buffalo, MN 55313
Local Law Enforcement Agencies
- Benton County
- Benton County Sheriff’s Department: 320-968-7201
- Foley Police Department: 320-968-0800
- Rice Police Department: 320-393-3280
- Sartell Police Department: 320-251-8186
- Sauk Rapids Police Department: 320-251-9451
- Sherburne County
- Becker Police: 763-261-4300
- Big Lake Police: 763-263-2500
- Elk River Police: 763-635-1200
- Princeton Police: 763-389-4879
- Sherburne County Sheriff’s Department: 763-241-2500
- Stearns County
- Albany Police Department: 320-845-2200
- Avon Police Department: 320-356-7575
- Belgrade Police Department: 320-254-8282
- Cold Spring Police Department: 320-685-8666
- Eden Valley Police Department: 320-435-5452
- Holdingford Police Department: 320-746-2966
- Kimball Police Department: 320-398-2874
- Melrose Police Department: 320-256-7211
- MN State Highway Patrol: 320-255-4224
- Paynesville Police Department: 320-243-3434
- St. Cloud Police Department: 320-251-1200
- St. Joseph Police Department: 320-363-8250
- Sartell Police Department: 320-251-8186
- Sauk Centre Police Department: 320-352-2201
- Stearns County Sheriff’s Department: 320-259-3700
- Waite Park Police Department: 320-251-3281
- Wright County
- Annandale Police Department: 320-274-3278
- Buffalo Police Department: 763-682-5876
- Howard Lake Police Department: 320-543-3111
- Wright County Sheriff’s Department: 763-682-1162; serving Albertville/St. Michael, Clearwater, Cokato, Delano, Hanover, Hasty, Maple Lake, Monticello, Montrose, Otsego, Rockford, and South Haven Police Departments.
The Central Minnesota Sexual Assault Center strives to offer primary prevention education and informational materials about sexual assault to students and staff in area schools, various community groups and professionals associated with these issues. CMSAC also provides services to people or families who may be uncomfortable utilizing local programs due to community size, concerns about confidentiality, or are from surrounding communities that do not have access to such services.
Available resources include brochures, informational packets, audio cassettes, books and videos. Some materials are free and others may be checked out.
There are several packets available for you to review. If you would like more information feel free to call anytime and a staff member or advocate will be able to further aid you. Please see attachments below.Here is a list of the packets available for you right now, click on the icons listed under the sub pages at the bottom of the page to read more:
Abuse is not your fault. No person has control over their abuser’s violence. Having a safety plan is an option to reduce risks of harm to yourself and to your children. Feel free to download the safety plan worksheet that is attached below and use it for your own situation. Please make sure to check your personal safety plan and share it with your children if they are age-appropriate or other trusted support people. Also, make sure to keep your safety plan in a place that is not available to your abuser! Download the form attached at the end of the page to help you develop a plan if you are in an abusive relationship.
Creating a Family Safety Plan
If you are in fear of your safety and/or there is an individual that will not leave you alone, you can consider filing for an Order for Protection (OFP), or an Harassment Restraining Order (HRO). Fees for filing these papers in civil court when a sexual assault or domestic violence is involved are waived for victims. For court forms and more information on how to file those go to: http://www.mncourts.gov. For help writing and filing those forms, call Central MN Sexual Assault Center at 320-251-4357.
There is no perfect way to protect yourself against rape or assault, but the concepts noted below have worked for many people. See attachment below for more information on safety and prevention:
- You Have The Right To Set Sexual Limits
- Communicate These Limits
Get those limits across to the other person. Other people cannot read your mind.
- Trust Your Feelings
If you feel that you are being pressured into unwanted sex, you are right. Say No firmly, get away, and tell a trusted support person. Yell if you need to.
- Pay Attention To Behavior That Doesn’t Seem Right
- Someone sitting or standing too close who enjoys your discomfort.
- Power stares-looking through you or down at you.
- Someone who blocks your way.
- Someone speaking in a way or acting as if he or she knows you more intimately than is proper.
- Someone who grabs or pushes you to get his or her way.
- Someone who doesn’t listen or disregards what you are saying, like “NO.”
- Be Assertive
- Get angry when someone does something to you that you don’t want.
- Act immediately with a negative response.
- Stand up for yourself, it’s okay to be rude to someone who’s sexually pressuring you, even if it hurts their feelings. After all, they aren’t paying attention to your feelings.
Things you can do to lower the risk of sexual assault:
- In Your Car
Keep your doors locked at all times, even if you are leaving your car for only a short time. If you have car trouble and must stay with your car, raise your hood, get into your car, lock your doors, and wait for the police. It’s usually safer not to accept help from a stranger. At night, park in well-lighted areas. When you approach your parked car, walk confidently, have the key in your hand and look around outside and inside your car before you get in. Don’t pick up hitchhikers.
- At Home
Keep your doors locked at all times even if you leave for just a moment. If possible, use a 180 degree peephole on your entry door, and avoid letting anyone in you don’t know or aren’t expecting (service repairmen, etc.). Use initials and not your first name on your mailbox and in the telephone directory. Leave your radio on while you are out, turned to a talk radio station.
- On The Phone
Avoid giving out personal information or confirming your telephone number to someone you don’t know. Never say on your answering machine that you are not home, or refer to the fact that you live alone. Leave a message such as: “We are not taking calls at this time, please leave your name and number and your call will be returned at our earliest convenience.” Report any obscene phone calls to the telephone company and any personal threats you receive to the police. If you are receiving obscene calls, answer your calls with your radio turned on a talk show so your caller will not know you are alone.
- Out – Of – Doors
Avoid walking or jogging alone at night; if you do, follow well-lighted, well-traveled routes and vary both the time and rate of your routine. Carry protective gear such as mace or a whistle. Avoid conversations with strangers even to give directions, especially if you are in a place where you could be cornered. Don’t hitchhike. Don’t accept rides from strangers. If you frequent recreational places alone or with other women, especially at night, be careful whom you leave the place with.
- Don’t put yourself in the position of being alone with someone you know only casually. When dating someone new, stick to public places until you know him or her well.
- Don’t give personal biographical information to someone you have just met. Always be aware that someone may want to take advantage of your compassion. Don’t assume that requests for money or physical help are legitimate.
- Remember that your consent for sharing a social occasion is not consent for sex.
Stalking is a course of conduct that is repetitive and is directed at a specific person that places them in fear for their safety. Stalking is illegal in all fifty states and the District of Columbia. If you are being stalked it is important that you have a network of safe people that you can talk to, a safe place to go, a plan of action when stalking occurs, changing routes to work/school, consider changing or having an unlisted phone number, do not engage in conversation with the stalker, record all messages/print all e-mails and texts, use a stalking log, carry a stalking sack(see information below), develop a victim/offender information folder with a staff member at Central MN Sexual Assault Center by calling 320-251-4357.
Stalking sacks should include: copy of a safety plan, cell phone, stalking log(notebook of stalking incidences), watch with date, disposable camera, tape recorder, pen and paper, literature on stalking and safety planning, safety whistle, flashlight, pepper spray/mace.
- Technology Safety Planning (Information from the National Network to End Domestic Violence)
- Trust your instincts. If you suspect that the abusive person knows too much, it is possible that your phone, computer, email, or other activities are being monitored.
- Plan for safety. Navigating violence, abuse, and stalking is very difficult and dangerous. Talk to an advocate at Central MN Sexual Assault Center for more ideas on how to stay safe at 320-251-4357.
- Take precautions if you have a “techy” abuser. If computers and technology are a profession or a hobby for the abuser/stalker, trust your instincts.
- Use a safer computer. If anyone abusive has access to your computer, he/she might be monitoring your computer activities. Try to use a safer computer when you look for help, a new place to live, etc.
- Create a new email account. If you suspect that anyone abusive can get access to your email, consider creating an extra email account on a safer computer. Use an anonymous name, and account, not your real name.
- Check your cell phone settings. If you are using a cell phone provided by the abusive person, consider turning it off when not in use.
- Change passwords and pin numbers. Some abusers use victim’s email and other accounts to impersonate and cause harm. Change any password protected accounts.
- Minimize use of cordless phones or baby monitors. If you don’t want others to overhear your conversations, turn baby monitors off when not in use and use a traditional corded phone for sensitive conversations.
- Use a donated or new cell phone. When making or receiving private calls or arranging escape plans, try not to use a shared or family cell phone because cell phone billing records and phone logs might show your plan to an abuser.
- Ask about your records and data. Many court systems and government agencies are publishing records to the internet. Ask agencies how they protect their data.
- Get a private mailbox and don’t give out your real address. When asked by businesses or professionals and others for your address, have a private mailbox address or a safer address to give them. Talk to an advocate about at Central MN Sexual Assault Center about options for setting up a PO box.
- Search your name on the internet. Major search engines such as Google and Yahoo may have links to your contact information. Contact website to have your information removed.