Click here to activate screen reader, translation and accessibility tools

Help after rape and sexual assault

Help and advice on what support is available if you or someone you know has been sexual assaulted.

Last updated: 18 October 2022

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, you must remember it was not 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

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. They can also arrange a forensic medical examination.

If you don't report the assault to the police, you can still refer yourself to a SARC for assessment and medical treatment. This can help to prevent some STIs and pregnancy.

If you are considering reporting the assault, the centre can arrange for you to have an informal talk with a specially trained police officer. They will then explain what is involved.

Some SARCs or voluntary organisations have specially trained advisers to help people who have been sexually assaulted. These independent sexual violence advisers (ISVA) can help you access other support services. They will also guide you through the criminal justice system if you decide to report the assault to the police. This includes supporting you through the trial if the case goes 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 they live in the UK or not.

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

Other services that can help support you: