Medical Forensic Exams



After experiencing a sexual assault, you have the choice to undergo a Medical Forensic Exam (MFE), also known as a Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner (SANE) forensic exam. MFEs can be performed up to five days after an assault. Choosing to have a Medical Forensic Exam exam does not require you to formally report anything to law enforcement or participate in a law enforcement investigation.

You can obtain an MFE or SANE forensic exam at the DU Health & Counseling Center on campus with same-day access weekdays from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Outside of those hours, the University of Denver has a Memorandum of Understanding with one program providing MFEs in the Denver Metro area — Denver Health Center. More information on reporting to this hospital can be found below.

CAPE can help explain the process and support any DU community member with the MFE process. This includes making arrangements for transportation to and from the hospital, if necessary. During normal business hours, contact the Director of CAPE at 303-871-3853 or present to the Health & Counseling Center in the Asbury Building at 1981 S. University Blvd. After hours, contact the Counselor on Call at 303-871-2205 or Blue Bench, a community-based advocacy organization serving survivors of sexual assault. Their 24-hour hotline is 303-322-7273.


What Is a Medical Forensic Exam?

A Medical Forensic Exam (MFE) is performed by a specially trained, registered Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner (SANE). It is tailored to provide survivors of sexual assault with trauma-informed medical treatment, and to collect forensic evidence in the event a survivor chooses to report to law enforcement. Typical exams last anywhere from two to six hours. If you choose to have an MFE, you have the right to decline any part of the exam and to go at a pace that feels comfortable to you. Standard MFEs include:

  • A complete discussion about medical history
  • Thorough physical examination
  • Evidence collection
  • Photographs of any injuries sustained during the assault
  • Details about the assault to better inform evidence collection and medical treatment
  • Treatment for possible sexually transmitted infections
  • Pregnancy prevention, if applicable
  • MFE Reporting Options

    In the state of Colorado, if you are an adult and choose to undergo an MFE, you have three reporting options:

    1. Anonymous Report – You can choose to undergo an MFE but not to participate in the criminal justice process by filing an anonymous report. This allows for evidence storage only, and no identifying information will be provided to law enforcement.
    2. Medical Report – You can choose to undergo an MFE but not to participate in the criminal justice process by filing a medical report. This leaves you the option to have the evidence tested. Your name and other identifying information will be shared with law enforcement, but no investigation will be initiated.
    3. Law Enforcement Report – You can choose to obtain an MFE and to participate in the criminal justice process by filing a law enforcement report. You will be given the opportunity to meet with a police officer at the hospital.

    Survivors are not charged for the cost of MFEs, but could incur expenses related to treatment of injuries. CAPE is available to talk through any financial questions or concerns.

  • Preservation of Evidence

    In preparing for a Medical Forensic Exam, you can take steps to preserve evidence:

    • Avoid bathing/showering
    • Avoid douching
    • If you can, wait to use the restroom until the hospital can take a urine sample
    • Avoid changing clothes
    • Avoid combing your hair
    • Avoid cleaning up the area where the assault occurred
    • Place any clothing or bedding present during the assault in a brown paper bag (available from CAPE) and take it with you to the hospital

    It is recommended to avoid these above activities after experiencing a sexual assault. It is okay if you have done any of these activities; you can still have an exam.

  • MFE Transportation Options

    The University of Denver will assist with transportation when students are seeking MFE services from a Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner at either Denver Health or Porter Hospital.

    Public Transportation

    • Find RTD schedules and trip planner schedules and routes here.
    • This option is free for full-time enrolled students with a DU-issued RTD pass.

    Confidential Taxi Vouchers

    • CAPE – 303-871-3853 (business hours)
    • Health & Counseling Center – 303-871-2205 (business & after hours)

    Transportation Reimbursement

    • Survivors can apply for financial assistance through the CAPE Survivor Fund to cover costs of transportation when seeking an MFE. Contact CAPE at or 303-871-3853 for more information.

    Transportation from Campus Safety

    • If Campus Safety has appropriate staffing levels, they can provide transportation to Denver Health or Porter Hospital for students seeking an MFE.
    • The survivor must be accompanied by an advocate or other support person.
    • This is not considered a confidential option.
  • Denver Health MFE Program

    To receive a Medical Forensic Exam at Denver Health, present to the emergency room and inform the front desk that you are seeking an MFE or SANE exam. They are open 24/7.

    Denver Health
    777 Bannock Street
    Denver, CO 80204