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Where should you turn to report sexual assault?

If you are the victim of sexual assault in Illinois, the best thing you can do is to report it immediately. Many people feel nervous or uncomfortable talking about it, so they don't go to the authorities. However, quick reporting often helps the authorities gather proper evidence so that justice can be served, so you don't want to delay.

There are a few different places you can turn, starting with a simple call to the local 911 dispatch center. Tell them exactly what happened, where it happened and when. If the event just happened, your memories will still be fresh, so it's important to relay as much accurate information as you can right away.

You can also talk to the local police department, either by going to the station in person or by calling them on the phone. Often, going in is best because you can sit down and have a face-to-face conversation with a professional, who will help you work through the process and identify important information. If you're on a college campus, you can also talk to the campus police in the same fashion.

Finally, you can report it at the local hospital or medical center. If you've been injured, you definitely want to get assistance as soon as possible, and you'll need to tell them some details of what happened when you arrive for treatment. Some medical centers are better set up for these situations, and you can find them by making a quick call to the National Sexual Assault Hotline, which can be reached at 800.656.HOPE -- or 800.656.4673.

Anyone who has been victimized in this way has had his or her rights violated, and proper legal action must be taken.

Source: Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network, "Reporting to Law Enforcement," accessed Sep. 18, 2015

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