To report a sexual assault, please call 911
The Tucson Police Department Adult Sex Assault Unit (ASAU) investigates sex crimes involving victims ages 18 and older. The members of the ASAU recognize the personal, sensitive, and traumatic nature of these crimes and investigate them with respect for the victims and the rights of all involved.
Adult Sexual Assault Unit
Tucson Police Department
270 S. Stone Ave.
Tucson, AZ 85701
(520) 837-7485 (message-only phone; leave your name and a phone number to receive a callback next business day)
WHAT CRIMES DOES THE ASAU INVESTIGATE?
- Sexual assault - §ARS 13-1406
- Sexual abuse - §ARS 13-1405
- Indecent exposure - ARS §13-1402
- Public sexual indecency - ARS §13-1403
- Voyeurism - ARS §13-1424
This is not an exhaustive list, and TPD has other units that investigate other sex crimes, such as child molestation, sex trafficking, sex offender registration violations, and more.
IF I AM THE VICTIM OF A SEX CRIME, WHAT ARE MY OPTIONS?
- Report to police. If you report to police, a uniformed officer will be dispatched to document the initial details of the incident and collect any evidence you may have. You may also go to any police substation during business hours to make a report there.
- Obtain a Sex Assault Forensic Exam. If the assault happened within the last 120 hours (5 days), you can obtain a Sexual Assault Forensic Exam (SAFE), also known as a rape kit, a sex assault kit, or a medical forensic exam. The exam is an opportunity for you to get medical and emotional care, while potentially gathering evidence. Currently, Tucson Medical Center is the primary hospital that offers exams. However, if you need immediate medical attention, go to the nearest hospital. It's also important for you to know:
- You may obtain a SAFE without having to make a police report.
- You may make a police report without having to obtain a SAFE.
- You do not have to pay for the exam.
- Get support. Local and national resources can help, including:
- Southern Arizona Center Against Sexual Assault (SACASA), 1-800-400-1001 or 520-327-7273
- Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network (RAAIN), 1-800-656-HOPE (4673)
You can take all of these options, some of these options, or none of these options. The choice is yours.
HOW DO I MAKE A POLICE REPORT? WHAT HAPPENS WHEN I DO?
- Initiate your report by calling 911 at any time, or by going to a substation during business hours. If you call 911, a police officer will be dispatched to your location.
- The police officer will ask you questions about what happened and take your initial statement.
- If the assault occurred within the last 120 hours (5 days), the police officer will offer you a SAFE. The officer can facilitate transportation to the hospital if you like.
- The officer will contact the ASAU after taking your initial report. A detective may respond to continue the investigation.
- If a detective responds, they will conduct a more detailed interview with you, and they may call 8for additional resources to address crime scenes or suspects.
- If a detective does not respond, the officer will forward your case to ASAU. The ASAU sergeant will review the case for potential follow-up.
You have rights as a victim of a crime, and a variety of service providers and programs are available to help you.
- You may request an advocate from SACASA or Pima County Victim Services be present with you when you report, and they can direct you to additional resources.
- The decision to move forward with the investigation is yours and you may stop the process at any time. (However, per Arizona statute, law enforcement must continue investigations involving domestic violence.) You are not required to participate in the investigation.
- You can make a report at any time, and in Arizona, there is no statute of limitations for prosecuting sexual assault. However, it is important to note that evidence can be lost with delay.
If you report an assault that just occurred, be mindful that evidence may exist where the assault happened and on your body. You can help preserve evidence by:
- Preventing disturbances to the crime scene
- Refraining from showering, bathing, eating, drinking, smoking, or brushing your teeth prior to a SAFE
- Preserving your clothing, preferably in a paper bag
- Preserving text messages or other electronic evidence on your phones or devices
- Waiting to use the bathroom, if possible. If you need to use the bathroom, it may be helpful to collect the urine in a clean container, and refrain from wiping.
Reporting to law enforcement is entirely your choice. Understandably, the process can feel overwhelming or intimidating. To help you make the best, most informed decision for yourself, you can learn more about the process here:
HOW DOES A SEX ASSAULT FORENSIC EXAM WORK?
When you go to the hospital, on your own or with a police officer, an advocate from SACASA will meet you to discuss your option for a SAFE. If you wish to have a SAFE, a specially trained Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner (SANE) will respond to provide confidential and professional care specific to sexual assault. These nurses have specialized training in forensic nursing and will provide for your comfort, answer any medical questions, conduct a physical exam, and collect any physical evidence. SANEs are available to conduct SAFEs 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
Learn more about Sex Assault Forensic Exams here:
WHAT HAPPENS TO MY SEX ASSAULT FORENSIC EXAM?
Whether or not you make a report to police, law enforcement will store your SAFE kit. Because of recent legislation (ARS §13-1427), law enforcement is responsible for submitting eligible kits for lab analysis. Your kit will be labeled with a barcode and tracked as it is collected, stored in evidence, and sent to the lab. The SANE will provide you with tracking information for your exam kit, which tells you where your kit is, but does not report the lab's analysis. You can also call or e-mail the ASAU at 520-837-7485 or TPDSexAssault@tucsonaz.gov.
HOW DO I CHECK THE STATUS OF MY SEX ASSAULT REPORT OR SEX ASSAULT EXAM?
Contact the TPD ASAU at 520-837-7485 or TPDSexAssault@tucsonaz.gov, and a staff member will contact you about your case. Due to the personal and confidential nature of these crimes, unit members will not provide private information to anyone other than the victim without the victim's express permission.
- SACASA, (800) 400-1001 or (520) 327-7273
- Pima County Victim Services, (520) 740-5525
- Emerge, (888) 428-0101, (520) 795-4266
- RAINN, (800) 656-HOPE
- National Sexual Violence Resource Center, (977) 739-3895
- Consulate of Mexico in Tucson, Department of Protection/Consulado de México en Tucson, Departmento de Protección, 520-882-5595
- Centro de Información y Asistencia a Mexicanos, 520-623-7874 (24/7)
- YWCA Promotoras (Advocacy organization for Spanish-speaking women experiencing gender violence), 520-447-8943
In 2019, the Sex Assault Kit Initiative (SAKI) awarded Pima County a $2 million grant for the Tucson Police Department and the Pima County Sheriff's Department to inventory and test cold case sex assault kits. Two years before that, TPD received a Department of New York (DANY) grant, which TPD used to test its inventory sex assault kits. You can learn more about the SAKI program at https://www.sakitta.org/pima.
In 2018, TPD received a $747,000 grant from the United States Department of Justice Office on Violence Against Women to support Spanish-speaking detectives in the areas of domestic violence and sexual assault. Efforts have been made to increase bilingual competency among investigators, SANEs and community service organizations. TPD has established relationships and referrals with the Consulate of Mexico in Tucson and with YWCA's Promotoras program.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
I want a sex assault exam, but I do not want to report to law enforcement. Do I have to make a report?
No. Under the Violence Against Women Act, victims of sexual assault do not have to report to law enforcement to obtain a sex assault forensic exam.
I'm not sure I want to prosecute. Do I have to decide right away?
When making a report, you do not have to make a decision about prosecution right away. You can take your time and ask questions so you can make a decision that works best for you. Also, there is no statute of limitations on prosecuting sexual assault.
Should I still report if...
- ...I was drinking / drunk?
- ...I was using drugs?
- ...I was on a date with the suspect?
- ...I was making out with the suspect?
- ...I went home with the suspect / I invited the suspect home?
- ...I had consensual sex with the suspect before they assaulted me?
Yes. Sex assault investigations can be complex, but none of these actions, on their own, is evidence of consent.
Will police talk to the person who assaulted me if it is someone I know?
In some situations, yes. If you wish to prosecute, or if you have a domestic violence relationship with the suspect, law enforcement will contact that person. Law enforcement is obligated to protect the rights of the victim and the accused. Therefore, the suspect has the right not to speak with police and to consult an attorney.
Will police talk to my friends and family?
Detectives may ask to speak with people you know about their knowledge of what happened. While eyewitnesses are not common in these cases, detectives sometimes speak with outcry witnesses or other incident witnesses. Detectives will not explicitly tell witnesses what you reported. Instead, they will ask witnesses what they know.
Will anyone else have to know about the assault besides police?
Generally, if you are over the age of 18 and not under state-mandated care, law enforcement will not share your personal information and disclosure with others. Police do work closely with other entities, and they may share information in the course of their duties with colleagues or other professionals, but those individuals and organizations are also committed to your privacy. Police will not share your information with family or friends unless you give them express permission to do so.
Will the assault be on the news?
TPD rarely releases information about a sexual assault to the media. In the event that detectives think that public assistance would be helpful in locating a suspect, or if there is a concern for widespread public safety, police may share limited information about the assault with the media. However, the detective will strive to ensure that you are notified before any information is released. Also, your name and personal information will never be released to the media.
Who can read my report?
When you report a crime to the police, that report becomes public record, and anyone can obtain a copy from our records section. However, your name, personal information, and details of the assault will be redacted from any report that is released to the public.
I was sexually assaulted a long time ago. Can I still make a report?
Yes, you can make a report at any time. While there is no longer a statute of limitations on sexual assaults, there were limitations in the past. However, it's still important to document assaults and the persons suspected of committing them. Investigators work with prosecutors to determine whether and how a case may be prosecuted when statutes of limitations apply.
Can I be sexually assaulted by my spouse?
Yes. There is no longer a "spousal defense" in Arizona law regarding sexual assault. In fact, sexual assault committed by your spouse or partner is considered a domestic violence offense.
Can I be sexually assaulted by someone of the same sex?
Yes, it is possible to be sexually assaulted by a member of the same sex.