This section explains where you can go for help and advice if you have been sexually assaulted.
What is sexual assault?
Sexual assault is any kind of sexual activity that you do not agree to. It can include:
- inappropriate touching
- vaginal, oral or anal penetration that you have said no to
Sexual assault can happen to men or women of any age. The attacker may be male or female, a stranger or someone you know, and a sexual assault can take place anywhere, including in your home or workplace.
Where can I go for help if I’ve been sexually assaulted?
Being sexually assaulted can be a very distressing and frightening experience. This can make it hard to get the help you need, but there are services that can help. You do not have to tell anyone about the assault if you don’t want to, but you should seek medical advice as soon as possible as you may be at risk of a sexually transmitted infection or pregnancy.
The services listed below can provide medical care, will take you seriously and will help you get any other support you need (including emotional support). These services are free – you can go there without a referral from another service and they will not tell the police if you do not want them to.
- A sexual assault referral centre – a 24-hour one-stop specialist service where you can receive medical care and counselling.
- A GUM clinic.
- A hospital accident and emergency department.
- Your general practice.
- A contraception or young people’s service.
For help finding out where your nearest service is see How to get help with your sexual health.
What will happen if I report the assault to the police?
If you decide to tell the police, you will be seen by a specially trained police officer and a specially trained doctor.
Who else can help me?
The following organisations can also give you details of services you might need and may be able to provide some counselling and support. If the assault took place a long time ago they can still help you:
- Rape Crisis (in England and Wales). www.rapecrisis.org.uk.
- Rape Crisis Scotland. www.rapecrisisscotland.org.uk.
- Rape Crisis Northern Ireland. Tel: 028 9032 9002.
- Rape Crisis Network Ireland. www.rcni.ie.
- Survivors UK (for men and boys who have been raped or sexually assaulted). www.survivorsuk.org.
- Rights of Women (runs a Sexual Violence Legal Advice line). www.rightsofwomen.org.uk.