Help after rape and sexual assault

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A sexual assault is any sexual act that a person did not consent to, or is forced into against their will.

If you have been sexually assaulted, whether as an adult or a young person, it is important to remember that it wasn't your fault. Sexual violence is a crime, no matter who commits it or where it happens. Don't be afraid to get help.

    Services that can help Click to get info

    Sexual assault referral centres (SARCs) offer medical, practical, and emotional support.

    They have specially trained doctors, nurses and support workers to care for you.

    If you decide to report the assault to the police, they can arrange for you to attend a SARC for medical care and, if you wish, a forensic medical examination.

    If you have not reported the assault to the police, you can still refer yourself to a SARC for assessment and medical treatment to prevent some STIs and pregnancy.

    If you refer yourself to a SARC and are considering reporting the assault to the police, the centre can arrange for you to have an informal talk with a specially trained police officer, who can explain what is involved.

    There are also specially trained advisers available in some SARCs or voluntary organisations to help people who have been sexually assaulted. These independent sexual violence advisers (ISVA) can help access other support services. They will also support you through the criminal justice system if you decide to report the assault to the police, including supporting you through the trial, should the case go to court.

    You can tell someone you trust first, such as a friend, relative or teacher, who can help you get the support you need. SARC services and ISVA support are free to all, whether a resident of the UK or not.

    TheSite is an organisation for young people that has made a video about what to expect if you visit a SARC. People of all ages may find this video useful.

    Other services that can help support you

    • RASASC - Rape and Sexual Abuse Support Centre
    • Survivors UK - for men who have been raped or sexually abused