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Rape and sexual assault

Rape and Sexual Assault is NEVER the victims fault. It can happen to anyone from any walk of life. The person who has assaulted you may be someone you know, or a complete stranger. No one ever asks to be raped, abused or assaulted, it doesn’t matter what you are wearing or how much you have had to drink.

You may also be affected by:

Sexual abuse and exploitation

How it can affect you

Everyone is different, and people react in different ways to what has happened to them. There is no wrong or right way to think or feel.

If you have been raped or assaulted by someone you know, you may be feeling lots of different emotions and worried about how coming forward will affect other people.

Some people may find it hard to build relationships with other people. You might struggle with intimacy or find it difficult to trust and rely on people.

You might be worried about how friends and family are going to react when they find out what has happened to you.

No matter the circumstances, it is important to remember you are not alone. It doesn’t matter whether the attack was recent or took place a long time ago, you have the right to help and support.

Help for men

Both men and women can be victims of rape and sexual assault. But men are sometimes reluctant to come forward and ask for help.

You are not alone and help is out there. The very fact that you are reading this means you have taken a brave and important step to getting help with what has happened to you.

Break the silence with help from Survivors Manchester, a charity dedicated to supporting male victims of rape and sexual assault.


Help for children and young people

If a child or young person that has been raped or sexually assaulted, they will need lots of help, care and support. We can help you find it.

CSE

Some children may have been manipulated into doing sexual things for their own or someone else’s benefit. If a person is under 18, this is called child sexual exploitation and it is against the law.

Anyone can be a victim of child sexual exploitation and it happens to boys and girls. Sometimes abusers are adults, and sometimes victims are exploited by ‘so-called’ friends of a similar age.

The www.itsnotokay.co.uk website contains lots of information and advice about child sexual exploitation. Find out what it is, how to spot the signs, and how to report it.

Specialist child sexual exploitation teams operate across Greater Manchester. Made up of police, health, and social care specialists they are dedicated to helping young victims and those at risk from child sexual exploitation. If you are worried about a child, they can help.

  • www.itsnotokay.co.uk
  • Find your local cse team
  • Reporting it

    In an emergency or if you need immediate help, dial 999.

    In a non-emergency, dial 101

    It doesn’t matter when the crime took place. You can report crimes to the police that have just happened, or which happened a long time ago. The process and investigation will be the same as for a recent incident.

    Report anonymously

    You can also report crime anonymously by contacting Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111. Crimestoppers is a charity which is entirely independent of police and never shares details with police of people who have got in touch.

    In these circumstances, it is unlikely that the police will be able to prosecute any individuals, but you may be able to provide information that the police can act upon to protect you or others from future attacks.

    Your identity is protected

    If you report it to police, you are entitled to lifelong anonymity. It is against the law for the police or media to publish information that is likely to lead to your identification as a victim. This includes your name, address, photograph, school, workplace or any other details that could cause you to be identified. The consequences of publicly identifying a victim of rape or sexual assault are severe, including fines or jail.

    What happens after you report rape or sexual assault?

    When you make a report, the police should do everything they can to support you and make sure you are safe. If the incident has just happened and you contact the police by phone, their call handler should stay on the line until a police officer arrives where you are.

    The police have specially trained officers who should treat you with care and sensitivity, throughout the investigation, court proceedings and beyond.

    When you report a rape or sexual assault to the police, you will need to speak to them in detail about what has happened. Talking to a police officer about the actual incident may be difficult but it is important that the police understand exactly what has happened to you. Don’t be afraid to ask questions, explain things in your own words, or ask for a break if you need one.

    The police may write down your statement or record it on video. Either way, the interview should be carried out by a specially trained officer whose job it will be to ask you questions and help you provide the best evidence possible.

    St Mary’s Sexual Assault Referral Centre

    If you reported the rape or sexual assault to Greater Manchester Police, they may ask you to attend St Mary’s Sexual Assault Referral Centre for a forensic medical examination. If you decide to attend for a medical examination, you will be accompanied by a crisis worker who will help and guide you through the examination. There is a team of highly experienced doctors based at St Mary’s who are used to examining people who may have been sexually assaulted. The aim is to look after your medical needs and gather any forensic evidence.

    Some people may benefit from an examination even if the incident took place a long time ago. Sometimes people are anxious that they might have been injured during an assault. If are worried about the impact on your body, or any long-term physical effects, you might benefit from a medical examination to help check out your concerns. It is entirely up to you whether you do this or not.

    You are entitled to support and medical treatment from St Mary’s Sexual Assault Referral Centre even if you decide not to report the crime to the police.

    If your experience has happened some time ago or if you choose not to attend for a medical examination, you can still access support from St Mary’s. They can put you in touch with an independent sexual violence advisory service and counselling is available to you, free of charge, whatever your age.

    The team at St Mary’s will take care of you and offer you support with what has happened. They will provide you with medical care. If you have chosen to report your attack to the police, they will also collect forensic evidence.

    Find out more about St Mary’s and the work they do.

    Will I have to go to court?

    If you report a rape or sexual assault to the police, your case may well end up going to court with the offender put on trial.

    If the police charge someone with rape or sexual assault, they pass the evidence to the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) who then prepare the case for court if there is enough evidence. This process can sometimes take a long time.

    The Greater Manchester Police Witness Care Unit will write to you telling you the court date.

    If the person who has been charged with the rape or assault pleads guilty, you will not have to give evidence in a trial.

    If the person charged with the rape or assault says they didn’t do it, you may need to give evidence in court.

    If you go to court, you will be allowed to take a friend for a support. Volunteers from Victim Support or the Witness Service can also support you on the day, so that you are not alone. An independent sexual violence advisor from St Mary’s can also attend court with you.

    As a victim of a sexual offence, you should be entitled to ‘special measures’, which are designed to make the court process easier for more vulnerable victims. For example you may be able to give evidence behind a screen so that the offender cannot see you.

    The Witness Service can arrange for you to visit the court beforehand so you can see what the layout is like and learn who will sit where.

  • Find out more about going to court
  • Find out more about special measures
  • Find out more about what happens after the trial
  • Find out who’s who in the criminal justice system
  • Fears about pregnancy or sexually transmitted infections

    Even if you don’t want to report what has happened to the police, you should still seek medical help to make sure your body is ok.

    St Mary’s Sexual Assault Referral Centre can help with any concerns you may have about pregnancy or sexually transmitted infections. Or you may choose to take the tests yourself. You can get help from your doctor, local sexual health or family planning clinic, or an NHS sexual health clinic in a hospital.

    It might not be something you want to think about, but just as a precaution consider getting yourself checked for any sexually transmitted infections. If you believe you may have been exposed to HIV, it is vital to undertake Post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP), this must be done within 72 hours of exposure to attempt to prevent the onset of HIV.

    You may also want to check whether or not you are pregnant. You can get free, emergency pregnancy testing kits. You can also get emergency contraception, such as the morning after pill or an emergency coil.

    You can get help from your doctor, local sexual health or family planning clinic, or an NHS sexual health clinic in a hospital.

    St Mary’s sexual assault referral centre can also help. They support men and women affected by rape and sexual assault and can provide important medical aftercare.

    Get help and support

    You are entitled to help and support regardless of when the crime took place or if you reported it to the police.

    Don’t suffer in silence. Even if you don’t want to report it to the police, try speaking to a trusted friend or family member about it and use them for support.

    Victim Support

    Victim Support provide emotional and practical support to victims of crime.

    Search our service directory

    You can also search our directory to find a support service near you.

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