Getting Help

(To quickly exit this website, if your abuser catches you, click the magenta Quick Escape button in the upper right corner of the site. To learn how to clear your "history" in your web browser so that your abuser can't check to see what websites you've visited, click here.)

Medical Information

If you have been sexually assaulted, follow these important steps:

  1. Relocate to a safe place.
  2. Contact the DAWN hotline ( or local rape crisis center, or a family or friend whom you trust, so can receive the support you need.
  3. Decide whether you want to involve law enforcement. If you decide not to tell the police, it is still highly recommended that you go to a hospital or medical clinic to be checked for pregnancy, sexually transmitted infections/diseases, and injuries.

Decide whether you need/want to go to the hospital. If you do:

  • Do not shower or bathe.
  • Do not douche or otherwise clean yourself.
  • Do not brush your teeth.
  • Do not straighten the area in which the incident occurred.
  • Do tell the nurse if you think you have been drugged.
  • Do wear the clothes you were wearing when the incident took place, or put your clothes in a paper bag and bring them with you.
  • Do allow the Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner (SANE) to examine and treat you, as well as collect evidence.

A DAWN advocate or local crisis advocate can accompany you to the hospital, courthouse and/or police station. We are here to listen to and support you.

Remember, this is not your fault.

Legal Information

In Washington, DC, the Intrafamilial Offense Act states that domestic violence can occur between any two persons related by:

  • Blood (e.g., parent, brother/sister, aunt/uncle, cousin, grandparent)
  • Shared legal custody of a child
  • Marriage (spouse or former spouse)
  • Domestic partnership (currently or in the past)
  • Romantic dating relationship (currently or in the past; does not have to be sexual in nature)
  • Shared residence (currently or in the past)

If you have experienced domestic violence, you have legal rights.

You may be eligible for a Temporary Protective Order (TPO). A TPO is designed to prohibit the abuser from continuing to hurt you, your family or people you love, or contact you or your family or friends. It also enables you to have the abuser removed from your shared residence.

A TPO lasts for up to 14 days. After 14 days, you may go to court to ask for a Civil Protective Order (CPO), which lasts for up to one year and can be renewed. As part of your CPO, the judge may order the abuser to:

  • Refrain from assaulting, harassing or threatening you
  • Stay away from you and your children, your family and others
  • Leave your shared place of residence
  • Give you full custody of the children
  • Pay child support and/or spousal support
  • Participate in counseling
  • Pay for bills and any property damages

Note: TPOs/CPOs are not criminal measures. If the abuser breaks the TPO/CPO, call the police immediately. A violation of a TPO/CPO is a crime.

If you need a protective order, contact your Domestic Violence Intake Center at 202-561-3000 or 202-879-0152 for more information. (getting a protective order is free)

There are two locations for intake evaluations:

  • Washington, DC, Superior Court – 500 Indiana Avenue NW, Suite 4235
  • United Medical Center – 1328 Southern Avenue SE, Suite 311

Advocates here will perform the intake evaluation, as well as provide free counseling, safety planning and legal assistance and representation. DAWN advocates are here to help you throughout this process. Contact Shazia Siddiqi, Executive Director, at for more information.