Support and Information following a recent Rape, Sexual assault or other form of Sexual Violence
At RASASH we can provide support and information after a recent rape or sexual assault. Early support after rape or sexual assault can help you think through what you might want to do next and can help you cope with the immediate shock of what has happened.
Everyone is affected differently by sexual violence. How you are feeling, and what you want to do, will depend on your own experience. This is no right to or wrong way to feel.
If you want to speak with someone about what has happened to you, or about anything else on this page please contact us on our local rate support line 03330 066909 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Our support line is staffed Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays from 9.30am - 1.00pm and Tuesdays and Thursdays from 1.00pm till 4.30pm.
Reporting a recent rape or sexual assault to the police
It is your decision whether or not you report what has happened to you to the police. You can report in person at your local police station, phone 101, or you can phone the police Rape Investigation Team at your local police station. Remember, in an emergency always call 999. You can arrange to speak to an officer first and then decide whether or not you want to report a crime. If you want to do this, remember not to give any personal information or go into any detail about the incident unless you decide you do want to report. Whilst police are usually happy to discuss what might happen if you report, if you provide them with information they feel they need to act on, they may do so regardless of your consent. You can ask to speak to a female officer.
If you are considering reporting a rape or sexual assault which has just happened, the more evidence you preserve, the greater the chance of conviction:
- Ring the police as soon as you are able to – if you are in any danger ring 999
- Try not shower or bathe – even though this may be your first instinct
- Try not to clean your teeth
- If possible ring someone you trust, and see if they can be with you
- Try and get somewhere that is safe and warm
- Do not change your clothes. If you do, put everything you were wearing into a plastic bag and keep it somewhere safe
- Avoid eating or drinking, especially alcohol
- Don’t comb your hair
- Try to avoid going to the toilet until you have been examined
- If the rapist used a condom don’t get rid of it
However, remember that you can still report at a later time if you choose to and have not done any of the above.
If you report to the police, they will take a brief statement and notify the Criminal Investigation Department (CID). A Detective Sergeant will take charge of the investigation. All interviews with you should be by a police officer who is specially trained to deal with sexual assault cases. You will be allocated a Sexual Offence Liaison Officer (SOLO) who will provide you with support and information throughout the investigation. They will take a detailed statement which will be passed on to CID, and CID will interview the accused. They may also arrange for a forensic examination in a specialist unit. This will be carried out by a specialist doctor. If the police think that there is unlikely to be any forensic evidence, you may not need to go for a forensic examination.
Third Party Reporting
This is a service currently offered by Rape Crisis Scotland, although we hope to be able to provide it ourselves from early 2016. Third party reporting allows those who do not want to formally report a rape or sexual assault to give a specially trained Rape Crisis Scotland (RCS) worker an account of the attack(s) as well as information about the perpetrator. RCS will pass to Police Scotland the information you have shared about your experience and any information you provide about the perpetrator, but will hold your contact information in strict confidence and will not pass it on to police.
The information will be entered into the Police national intelligence database and RCS contacted if a 'hit' is identified i.e. if the perpetrator is already known to police. In such circumstances, RCS would contact you and ask if you wanted to make a formal report. You do not need to do so and RCS will respect whatever decision you come to. Some survivors find that knowing someone else has reported similar allegations gives them the confidence to speak to police and make a formal report. You can call RCS on 08088 010302 any evening between 6pm and midnight.
If you would like to talk through third party reporting with someone, you can call the RCS helpline or contact RASASH on 03330 066909 or by emailing us at email@example.com. Lines are staffed Mondays, Wednesdays & Fridays from 9.30pm to 1.00pm and Tuesdays and Fridays from 1.00pm till 4.30pm.
After a rape or sexual assault you may be in shock. This can show itself in many different ways. Everyone reacts and feels differently. You may feel numb, be shaking, laughing hysterically or be physically sick. You might continue with your daily routine as usual. Your feelings may keep changing over time, and whatever you are feeling is a normal response to what has happened. You may feel it was your fault. It wasn’t. What happened to you should not have happened. Try to be patient and kind to yourself.
It is important to consider whether or not you need to seek medical help for any injuries you may have, especially if you are bleeding or in pain. We understand you may be anxious about this. You are able to take a friend with you which may help.
If you have any physical injuries you should consider getting them treated by your doctor or local Accident and Emergency Department. Some survivors have found that writing down any questions they have before they go helps. You can access healthcare without telling the doctor what has happened to you. The important thing is that you get any injuries seen to.
Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs)
It may be a good idea to get tested for any STI’s as prompt treatment can prevent you from becoming ill later on. If you do have a STI, treatment can prevent you from becoming more seriously ill. You can be tested at your local sexual health clinic. To find out where that is, click here. They will offer you fully confidential information, treatment and advice. You do not need a letter from your doctor but you will have to return for any test results. You do not have to disclose a name or disclose that you have been raped or sexually assaulted. Remember you can take a friend with you for support or a support worker from RASASH may be able to go to this appointment with you.
If you are unsure as to whether or not any contraception was used, there is a possibility of pregnancy. You can get emergency contraception up to 5 days after the assault. You can get further advice from your GP, sexual health clinic, A&E or at most pharmacies free of charge. Additionally, in some circumstances, you may be able to have a coil fitted later than 5 days after. This can be done at a sexual health clinic or by your GP. You may also consider doing a pregnancy test. Again this can be carried out by your GP or at a sexual health clinic but you can also buy a pregnancy testing kit over the counter and they are accurate approximately 3 weeks after conception.
Don’t cope alone
Remember that coping with the trauma of sexual violence can be extremely hard and you do not have to do this alone. Whatever you may feel at this time or whatever the circumstances, you are not to blame for what happened. RASASH provides non-judgmental and confidential support, information and advocacy where you will be listened to, believed, and treated with respect. You can get in touch with us via our support phone on 03330 066909 or by email on firstname.lastname@example.org for an initial chat about how we might be able to help. Lines are staffed Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays from 9.30am till 1.00pm and Tuesdays and Thursdays from 1.00pm till 4.30pm.