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Securing evidence: what you can do

Date rape drugs are detectable in the body only for a short time. You need to act quickly if you want to have clarity and need evidence to file charges. The drugs are traceable in blood and urine for up to about twelve hours. You can do the following to secure evidence:

  • Contact the police. If they have reason for suspicion, they will arrange for evidence to be collected.
  • Go to the emergency room of the hospital and inform the medical staff of your suspicion. However, be aware that the hospital isn't legally obligated to collect blood and urine samples. It is also uncertain whether they will store these so that they may be used as evidence in court.
  • Go directly to a forensic institute, such as the Charité Forensic Institute (Rechtsmedizin der Charité) in Berlin, to undergo toxicological exams. However, you'll have to cover the costs yourself if you don't want to press charges with the police.
  • After the twelve hours have elapsed, there is still the option to determine the presence of date rape drugs via a costly and complicated hair analysis. The public prosecution authority may order such an analysis, otherwise you'll have to cover the costs yourself.

Gathering evidence after sexual assault

Evidence of sexual assault can be gathered at the Charité hospital's institute of legal medicine and forensic science (Gerichtsmedizin der Charité). A gynaecologist can also secure evidence.

  • Even if it causes you discomfort or revulsion, you should not wash or shower before a medical examination, in order to preserve potential evidence. If you need to go to the bathroom before the examination, keep the urine in a clean, closed container.
  • If you need to go to the bathroom before the medical exam, store the urine in a clean and closed container and keep it refrigerated.
  • Don't wash clothes or textiles that may have been touched by the perpetrator in order to preserve potential DNA evidence and other traces. Torn clothes must also be preserved since they may indicate that physical violence was used to force you to have sexual intercourse. These items must therefore be carefully secured (ideally in a clean paper bag).
  • If you know or suspect that the offender was in your apartment, don't move anything, so that potential traces such as fingerprints or hair can be secured.
  • It may be very useful for future developments of the case to write down what you can remember about the circumstances and events as soon as possible. Potential witnesses should do the same.