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What To Expect When Reporting a Crime
Assistance for Victims of Crimes in France

What To Expect When Reporting a Crime

Filing a complaint – Police officers will take you to the nearest police station in order to record your complaint. You may also go on your own to the nearest gendarmerie or commissariat police station to file a precise complaint including the nature and details of the infraction, and the offender’s name, if known. Include all proof of the crime, including medical certificates and bills if medical treatment has already been sought, etc.

In the case of physical assault, police officers may accompany you to a medical examination or provide you with a written document allowing you to be examined at a medical-legal emergency unit. An investigation will then be opened.

Examination by a doctor – At the request of the police or gendarmes, the victim may be examined by a doctor. The doctor will examine any injuries and look for DNA traces. DNA evidence has become a routine part of investigating and prosecuting all types of crimes. It is often an important tool in achieving justice for survivors of sexual assault. For this reason, it is important to try to avoid bathing, cleaning your fingernails, or urinating until after a sexual assault forensic exam has been performed.
The doctor can also search for any traces of drugs (i.e. GHB – the drug commonly referred to as the “date rape” drug).

The doctor will issue the victim an official medical certificate indicating his/her condition. An AIDS test and, if necessary, a pregnancy test can be carried out.