Speak to the Police
If you are considering reporting to the police an ISVA can explain the process to you and support you at every step.
The law in the UK recognises that people can take many years to report sexual crimes, so things that happened in the past can still be reported to police and investigated even if it was many years ago.
Or it may be very recent in which case you may want to report it straight away.
It’s completely up to you whether you decide to report it to the police. If you do, they will do everything they can to make sure you get the right care and support.
How to tell the police
The sooner you report a recent sexual assault, the better chance the police have of collecting evidence.
- If you’re in danger, call 999. Otherwise you can call the police on 101
- You can go to your nearest police station and ask to speak to someone in private. You don’t have to explain why at the reception desk.
- You can ask an ISVA to report the crime for you. This is called a Third Party Report. It will be anonymous so won’t be investigated by the police, but it could help them join up related crimes
What might happen next
After reporting an assault you might be:
- asked for the clothes you were wearing when you were attacked
- invited to go to your nearest Sexual Advisory Referral Centre (SARC)
- Offered a medical examination in private by specialist medical staff
- interviewed by a specially trained police officer
There are now specialist police who are trained to understand and be alert to how well you are coping with the process.
You will need to give some details which will be very factual. They will not ask you to elaborate more than is absolutely necessary for them to record the information they need.
They also have systems in place to protect you during and after the investigation, such as asking the public to leave the courtroom if you’re giving evidence, or ensuring your anonymity in public reports.