OBJECTIVE--To describe assaults, injuries, and treatment in the 168 patients who attended the medical rape trauma service in 1987. To give an impression of the medico-legal documentation that is required. DESIGN--Prospective study. SETTING--A rape trauma service (RTS) established at the Emergency Hospital in Oslo. The service is free, open around the clock, and independent of police notification. RTS has standardized the medico-legal report used for rape victims. PARTICIPANTS--All patients attending RTS from 1 January to 31 December. RESULTS--Eighty-two (49%) patients reported the incident to the police. Two-thirds of the patients were assaulted by strangers, one-fifth by two or more assailants, and 16 were subjected to attempted rape. Weapons were used in 50 of the assaults. Eighty-one patients had physical injuries requiring documentation but no special treatment. Fourteen patients were infected with sexually transmitted diseases, three patients became pregnant. Seventy-eight patients returned for a medical follow-up. As many as 128 patients (76%) needed care from all parts of the emergency medical and psycho-social services. CONCLUSION--RTS shows that primary health service can be responsible for the treatment of rape victims and for the medico-legal documentation of rape trauma.