Our advocacy service aims to empower people; we will work alongside you to uphold your rights. We will listen first and provide you with the information you need to make informed decisions. We don’t pressure anyone to report, we are on your side and we stand by your choices. We can arrange appointments to meet you in person or remotely, by phone, text, video call or email.
As well as providing information we can provide practical support such as attending criminal justice related meetings and appointments with you, getting updates on your case, attending court with you and communicating with services on your behalf if you wish us to.
Our advocacy workers can support you with all stages of the criminal justice system, including:
- Pre-reporting information and support
- Attending police statements
- Attending forensic medical examinations
- Attending identification parades (VIPER)
- Help with updates from the police and courts
- Support at Court
- Help with completing victim impact statements
- Helping with complaints related to sexual violence cases about any part of the criminal justice system
- Post-court support
- Exploring other options such as non-harassment orders or other civil remedies
THE CRIMINAL JUSTICE PROCESS
We know that the decision to report or not is a difficult and personal one, and that the criminal justice process can seem long and complicated. That’s why our advocacy service can provide information to help you understand what each stage of the process involves, allowing you to make informed decisions. Whatever you decide, we will be there to support you.
“Just knowing you have someone who believes in you and is with you through the process makes me feel like I’m strong enough to get through this.”
– Survivor, RASASH Advocacy Service
FORENSIC MEDICAL EXAMINATIONS
If you have been assaulted in the last 7 days you can have a forensic medical examination where a doctor or nurse will check you are ok and look for forensic evidence. They will make sure your sexual health is looked after and offer emergency contraception if needed. If you are over 18 you do not have to report to the police to have one of these examinations.
Across the UK there are sexual assault referral centres (SARCS) which provide these services to people who have experienced rape or sexual assault. In the Highlands our centre is called The Shores.
You can self-refer to their service by calling 0800 148 88 88. This phone line is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and calls are free from landlines and mobiles. They will listen to you and explain what options are available to you. If you decide you want a forensic examination, they will take samples (swabs/blood tests) and photograph any injuries. They can store these samples and if you decide to report to the police at a later date, the samples can be used as evidence in the police investigation. The Shores will store forensic evidence for 26 months. If you decide you don’t want to report you don’t need to do anything, the evidence will be destroyed after this period.