It is the policy of the Fargo Police Department that its members, when responding to reports of sexual assaults, will strive to minimize the trauma experienced by the victims, and will aggressively investigate sexual assaults, pursue expeditious apprehension and conviction of perpetrators, and protect the safety of the victims and the community.
Sexual assault is a sexual act in which a person is coerced or physically forced to engage against their will, or non-consensual sexual touching of a person.
Learn more about sexual assault and gross sexual imposition in the North Dakota Century Code Chapter 12.1-20 Sex Offenses
What is consent?
Consent is agreeing to engage in sexual activity. Consent means the individuals know and understand what is being agreed upon.
Sometimes you cannot give legal consent to sexual activity or contact. For example, if you are:
- Threatened, forced, coerced, or manipulated into agreeing
- Not physically able to (you are too drunk or high, drugged, passed out, or asleep)
- Not mentally able to (due to illness or disability)
- 15 years of age or younger (in ND)
If you become the victim of a sexual assault:
- Please report the assault to law enforcement in the jurisdiction where the assault happened, as soon as possible. Prompt reporting allows for a timely investigation and can make difference in the success of the case. Not reporting impacts a victim's ability to get justice and that, in turn, can impact the healing process. In addition, assailants who are not held accountable for their actions can be a continued threat to public safety.
- Avoid cleaning yourself in any way that may result in loss of physical evidence. Physical evidence can be very important in a sexual assault case. Victims are encouraged to avoid eating, drinking, brushing their teeth, urinating, showering or bathing until a medical exam and evidence collection can be done, if the victim is willing to participate in that exam. Participation in the medical-legal examination is strongly encouraged. This is a critical step in the collection of physical evidence in most assaults. What is included in the exam depends on the circumstances involved in the assault. This exam is done by trained medical staff and can be done at any local hospital emergency room.
- If you believe you were drugged, law enforcement will want to obtain a urine sample as soon as possible to prove the presence of drug and to identify what drug was used. Unfortunately, many date rape drugs metabolize quickly. This means that after several hours, it may not be detected in a sample. As a result, it is important to get that sample very soon after the assault. It is acceptable to go directly to a hospital, even before notifying law enforcement.
What is the statute of limitations for sexual offenses?
The state of North Dakota has provide a statute of limitations for sexual offenses at seven (7) years.
Rape and Abuse Crisis Center
The Rape and Abuse Crisis Center of Fargo-Moorhead provides crisis intervention, counseling, advocacy, and education to male and female, child, adolescent, adult and elder victims of domestic/dating violence, sexual assault, child sexual abuse, and human trafficking/sexual exploitation. All victim services are free and confidential and distributed on a nondiscriminatory basis.
24 Hour Crisis Phone: 701.293.7273
Location: 317 8 Street North, Fargo, ND