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Coronavirus (COVID-19): the policing response and what you need to know

Report rape and sexual assault

Rape and sexual assault is a crime regardless of your sex, gender or sexuality. Being pressured or forced to have sex or engage in sexual activity when you do not want to is a serious crime.

If you have been sexually assaulted, whether as an adult or a young person, there is help and support available to you whether you choose to report it to the police or not.

Report it to the police

Call 999 to report a rape or sexual assault as soon as possible after the crime.

If possible:

  • Keep the clothes (including underwear and sanitary products) you were wearing and do not wash them – they may contain evidence needed for the investigation
  • Try not to shower as there may be evidence the police can use

Report historical cases

If the rape or sexual assault happened a long time ago, you can still report this to the police by calling 101.

Report it to a support group

If you do not want to report it to the police, you can contact independent support groups for advice and support. (LINK TO NEW SUPPORT PAGE)

None of the organisations will make you report the assault to the police if you do not want to.

Ultimately the decision to report the crime is yours. If you are unsure you can:

  • Contact a local support group for advice (LINK TO NEW SUPPORT PAGE)
  • Ring 101 or visit your local police station and ask to speak to a specially trained Sexual Offences Liaison Officer

What happens after a report is made?

We may need to take you to a Sexual Assault Referral Centre (SARC) to collect forensic evidence.

We may ask you not to shower and to keep any clothing, underwear and sanitary products you were wearing at the time of the assault or immediately after, because they may provide forensic evidence.

Depending on the type of offence reported, we will support you in different ways:

Anonymous reports

Intelligence checks will be conducted on suspect details to identify whether any safeguarding needs to be undertaken to protect other people.

If you have not provided your details we will not be able to contact you after checks have been made on the suspect and the circumstances of the allegation. This means the report will be filed.

Recent incidents

The report may be transferred directly to the Control Room to ensure a police officer makes contact with you as soon as possible to collect evidence and to arrange safeguarding if you are considered ‘vulnerable’.

Historic incidents

If there are no urgent policing actions which need to be carried out, and there are no immediate safeguarding concerns, the crime will be allocated to the relevant investigations team.

The investigations team will contact with you within 5 days to take further details about the allegation.

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