Frequently Asked Questions
When faced with the ordeal of trying to deal with the aftermath of rape, many questions come up which can cause distress, confusion, worry and anxiety, which can also lead to feelings of shame and guilt.
There are many questions which are asked more frequently than others and below are a selection of those frequently asked.
What is Rape?
The definition of Rape is given Under Section 1 of the Sexual Offences Act 2003.Rape is committed when a man intentionally penetrates the vulva, vagina, anus or mouth of another person with his penis without that other person's consent.
Under Section 2 of the same act, it states that if the penetration is with something other than a penis, then the offence is assault by penetration.
With this, it means that only men can commit the offence rape, but both men and women can commit the offence of Assault by Penetration. Both of these offences are considered equal in severity and they both have a potential sentence of imprisonment for life for the perpetrator if found guilty by jury in court.
I have been raped or sexually assaulted. What should I do?
If you have been raped or sexually assaulted call us on 01256 423890. We can give you information or support.
Our team of Crisis Line Volunteers are fully trained to deal with your calls. The decision on whether you report an attack to the police is yours alone. Whatever your decision we will support you.
Our Crisis Line Volunteers understand what rape and sexual abuse is all about. They are not shockable, they do not judge feelings or actions and they will encourage you express your feelings whatever they might be.
Whether or not you report to the police please see a doctor, Sexual Health Clinic or SARC [Sexual Assault Referral Centre] to check for any injury, sexually transmitted disease, HIV or pregnancy.
SARCs can also collect forensic evidence if you wish, whether or not you report to the police. They can store the forensic evidence for later use, enabling you to decide to report later.
If you decide to report to the police soon after an attack
- Report as soon as possible - delay may go against your case.
- If at all possible tell someone what has happened to you as soon as you can - a witness to your distress and early complaint can help.
- It is most helpful if you do not wash or tidy yourself or change your clothes.
- It is best not take alcohol or drugs immediately before reporting, however don't worry if you have. You can still report it.
- Although we cannot provide counselling until the police and court case has ended, you can call us on our crisis line for telephone support, or you may be able to call a friend so that someone can give you support during police and medical procedures.
- Take a change of clothing with you - the police may keep some or all of your clothes for tests and evidence.
- Make notes about the rape if you can. It will help you with your statement. Important things to remember are the details and sequence of events and what was said.
- The police may be able to refer you to a local ISVA [Independent Sexual Violence Advisor] for additional support during the police and court case
If I report it to the police later, what will happen?
If you decide some time after an attack, [weeks, months or even years], to report the incident(s), the police will still take a statement from you. Although there may be no forensic evidence available, that does not mean that a case cannot be brought against an individual.
You may have to answer questions as to why you have waited a long time to report the incident. If you told anyone else at the time, they may be asked to give a statement. Your statement will be taken, and the police should keep you in touch with their investigation. You may wish to ask someone to come with you to the police station, and you can ask to speak to a woman police officer or a police officer trained in dealing with incidents of sexual abuse. In this case, you may have to wait for an appropriate officer to be available.