Recent Rape and / or Sexual Assault

Recent Rape and / or Sexual Assault

If you have been raped or sexually abused the most important thing to remember is that it was not your fault.

It is irrelevant what you were wearing, how much you had to drink or whether you were in your own home or out - you did not ask to be raped or abused. The blame is entirely the perpetrator(s).

If you have not given your consent to have sexual relations or were unable to give your consent (asleep, passed out, drunk) then this is also rape and/or sexual abuse. Even though rape involves forced sex, rape is not about sex or passion. Rape and sexual abuse have nothing to do with love. Rape and sexual abuse are an act of aggression and violence.

Rape and sexual abuse are violent acts irrespective of physical injury.

Recent Rape / Sexual Assault; Your Options

If you have been raped or sexually assaulted in the last 10 days you may wish to have forensic evidence collected. You can do this independently (without reporting to the police) or by reporting to the police.

Independent of the police; you do not have to report anything to the police to have forensic evidence taken. You can have forensic evidence taken and stored securely without reporting by contacting your local SARC (Sexual Assault Referral Centre). The SARC are able to treat injuries, test for STI's, provide emergency contraception and collect and store forensic evidence.

Reporting to the Police; if you would like to report to the police your local police station may have a specialist worker. Ask to speak to a specially trained Sexual Offences Liaison Officer (SOLO) – you can request a female or male SOLO. The police will be able to take your report and arrange for forensic evidence to be taken at your local Sexual Assault Referral Centre (SARC).

Anonymous medical treatment; you may need to receive treatment for your injuries, emergency contraception, and checks for STIs. If you want to do this anonymously you can attend your local sexual health clinic (or GUM clinic) who can provide medical support anonymously following a rape and/or sexual assault.

Medical treatment; you can receive treatment for injuries, STI checks and/or emergency contraception from your local SARC (Sexual Assault Referral Centre), A & E department or GP surgery.

ISVA service; ISVA stands for Independent Sexual Violence Advisor and in Devon the ISVA service is provided by First Light. These workers provide accurate and impartial information to victims and survivors of sexual violence through the legal system. You do not have to have reported to the police to refer yourself.

Legal information; you may wish to find out more information about reporting and your legal rights. The Rights of Women website provides lots of useful information

If you would like information following a rape and / or sexual assault you can access free, anonymous and confidential information from our helpline or the Rape Crisis England and Wales RCEW Helpline.