If you or others are in immediate danger of harm, call 999.
If you have just been raped or sexually assaulted, there are some things you should try to do:
- Try to go somewhere safe, such as your home or a friend’s house,
- Try and get someone you trust to be with you,
- Try to tell someone what happened, or write it down.
- Most importantly, remember that you are not to blame for what happened.
It is very possible that the perpetrator’s DNA or sperm may be on your body or clothes. By taking the following steps, you can help to preserve any forensic evidence:
- Do not wash,
- Do not brush your teeth,
- Do not go to the toilet,
- Do not eat or drink,
- Do not smoke,
- Do not change your clothes,
- If you do change your clothes, do not wash them and put them in a clean plastic bag,
- Do not touch or move anything from the area where it happened.
You do not have to decide immediately whether or not to report the crime to the police, but there is a time period on how long after the event that forensic evidence can be collected. Therefore, it is a good idea to go to a Sexual Assault Referral Clinic (SARC) as soon as possible.
You can find your nearest SARC here: http://www.thesurvivorstrust.org/sarc/
At the SARC, specially trained professionals can:
- Provide medical help and advice,
- Provide emotional support,
- Perform a forensic medical examination, including collecting sperm and DNA samples,
- Provide a pregnancy test,
- Provide tests for sexually transmitted disease (STD).
They will store the results of the forensic examination until you decide whether or not to report the crime to the police. They should not pressure you into reporting the crime to the police – there is no time limit on when you can report the event.
Above all, remember that you are not to blame for what happened, and that you are not alone – support and help is available to you.