What does coming to the ER entail?
The ER for Sexual Abuse always accepts walk-ins but it’s good to call in advance so that the staff can be as well-prepared as possible. You can also call 112 and ask for police to take you there. You don’t have to decide whether you want to press charges or not when you come to the ER, whether or not police take you there. You are in full control of the process.
Each case is individually assessed to determine which services are provided. The guiding principle is collaboration between you and the ER staff.
You can bring a friend or a loved one with you. However, they cannot be present during the consultation or examination.
The Emergency Room for Sexual Abuse offers:
- A consultation with a nurse.
- A medical examination and treatment based on your needs.
- A forensic examination where evidence is collected and injuries evaluated.
- A referral to a trauma team.
- In Reykjavík, you can ask to see a female gynaecologist when you call ahead.
- In Akureyri, the gynaecologist who is on call carries out the examination.
When you call the ER you can ask for an interpreter if you need one.
The trauma team offers support, information, and counselling for working through the trauma. The team evaluates the need for further treatment due to your mental or physical response and works to strengthen your resources and support systems.
The examination itself
First, you meet a nurse who records your account. They evaluate what kind of support you need. The examination process is explained to you and a doctor is called in.
What is done?
Samples are taken to test for:
- Hepatitis B and C
- Herpes and yeast infection, if necessary
The following tests are conducted:
- A urine drug test
- A pregnancy test
- A blood test for police investigation
Other possible tests, depending on the nature of the offence:
- Nail scrapings
- Smears that may contain semen
- Vaginal swab
Emergency contraception is given when applicable.
Can I bring a friend or loved one with me?
Yes, you can, and it can be good for you to have support. However, no one else may be present in the examination or when you recount what happened to the nurse and doctor. This is in order to protect your interests.
The examination can be difficult
Victims can feel vulnerable during the examination as they have just experienced serious violence. A doctor and nurse are with you during the examination. You have to undress and let samples be taken and photographs may also be taken.
It is important to know that the ER staff always act in accordance with your wishes. They are used to this situation and have seen everything under the sun. You can always choose what is done and at what speed.
After the examination
When the examination is over the following occurs:
- You are offered free psychological support from the crisis team and a consultation with a social worker.
- You receive an info sheet on what was done during the examination along with more data.
- In some cases, injuries need to be evaluated again, for example bruises that do not appear right away. Then you need to go to the ER again.
- If you are younger than 18 the ER is required to report the offence to Child Protection Services (ice. Barnavernd).
- You can ask for the police to be called in or for the offence to be reported to them. That is totally up to you.