If you have recently been raped or abused, the first important step afterwards is to make sure you are somewhere you feel safe.
If you are unsure what you want to do next, you can go to your nearest Sexual Assault Referral Centre (SARC) where you can get advice on what to do next, support in the aftermath of rape or assault and they will offer you a forensic medical examination if you wish. SARCs can store forensic evidence until you have decided if to report or to take your report further. They employ specially trained professionals who can give you medical and emotional support as well as guide you through the criminal justice process if this is what you want to do.
If you can, take a friend that you can trust with you.
If you would prefer advice and support over the telephone:
The Rape Crisis National Helpline: 0808 802 9999 is open every day of the year from 12 to 2.30pm and 7pm to 9.30pm including weekends and bank holidays. (The number will not show up on bills). The national helpline is accessible 365 days a year to women aged 13+ who have survived any form of sexual violence, no matter how long ago.
The helpline is staffed by fully trained helpline workers, and provides:
- Emotional support for survivors of sexual violence.
- Practical information.
- Information for family, friends and partners of survivors.
- Regional and national information resources.
- Signposting to other agencies in the UK.
- Referral information from the nationwide database.
Whatever you decide, there is no right or wrong way to react to sexual violence. Each survivor responds in his or her own way.