Advice for Victims of Rape

I’ve been raped. What should I do?

You may be feeling disorientated and confused. You may be finding it hard to believe what has happened to you. It is common to have feelings of guilt and to blame yourself in some way for what has happened. You may have such thoughts as: 'I shouldn’t have had so much to drink', 'I should have tried to fight back' or 'I shouldn’t have gone back for a coffee'.

It is most common for victims of rape not to fight back and instead they will freeze and become passive, this is due to our natural instincts to survive and doing nothing may be the best way to survive the attack without being seriously hurt.

If you report the rape as soon as possible then you may have to undergo a medical examination which may take some time. The police’s first priority is your welfare and safety. Everybody is unique - your needs are of utmost importantance and you will be dealt with according to what suits you best.

You'll be taken to the Sexual Assault Referral Centre (SARC) at St Marys Hospital, where you'll be supported through the medical procedures. You will be given a full explanation of the stages of the investigation by a Specially Trained Officer and be given options of how you want to continue. If you wish to take the case to court you will advised about the best forms of giving evidence in court.

The information obtained from you is used by the Police and the Crown Prosecution Service to prepare a court case.

When you give your account to police, it is important to be totally honest about what has happened. Please do not leave anything out, no matter how embarrassing it might be. If you can't remember everything, it is okay to say so.

Be honest and tell the police about how much you have had to drink or if you took any recreational drugs. It is important to be as accurate as you can, to assist the investigators when they formally interview the person who has attacked you. To prevent that person from transferring the blame upon you or make out that you were not telling the truth.

Forensic evidence can be crucial to the successful prosecution of a case. However no matter when it happened or the circumstances surrounding it, you should talk to the police who can help you decide what to do.

Forensic tests look at obtaining any evidence from where the offender has had contact with you so if possible, do not:

  • Wash (including having a shower or a bath)
  • Brush your teeth
  • Have a cigarette
  • Eat or drink
  • Change your clothes - or keep them safely to one side
  • Clear up anything from the area of the incident

You will be able to have a shower after the examination at the suite if you wish to do so.

A trained doctor working for the police carry out the medical forensic examination and photographs may be taken of any injuries.

If you do not want to involve the police then the Rape and Sexual Abuse Support Centre will be able to give you support and advice including counselling services if required. You will not be forced to report it to the police if you don’t want to. They will be there to help you get through your ordeal and they will deal with you in the strictest of confidence.

You’re not alone – the system is there to help you

Cheshire Police, support services and the Crown Prosecution Service take cases of serious sexual assault and rape very seriously.

Victims should not be afraid of the Criminal Justice System, we are all here to help them. We treat victims as individuals, with compassion and dignity and prosecute robustly.

Victim Personal Statement

This is a statement made by a victim explaining the effect that the crime has had on them. In the statement, victims can explain their wishes or needs during the case and whether they want help from any of the support agencies.

They can say whether or not they support a prosecution and can raise their concerns about issues such as their safety, any intimidation or the defendant’s bail.

Victims can make more than one statement which can help explain how the crime has affected them in the longer term. Victim Personal Statements are included in the case papers and are seen by everyone involved in the rape case, including the defendant and his lawyer. It’s also viewed at bail hearings.

Victim Personal Statements help the prosecutor and the judge to understand the crime, and its effects and consequences. Victims have the right to choose whether to make a Victim Personal Statement and whether they need help to make a statement from a support worker or family member.

For more information about Victim Personal Statements, please read this Crown Prosecution Service guidance

Further information about the Code of Practice for Victims of Crime

Independent Sexual Violence Advisors

Independent Sexual Violence Advisors (ISVAs) provide targeted professional support to victims of sexual violent crime. These professionally trained specialists work alongside victims from the point of crisis, such as initial contact with emergency services, throughout the legal process and beyond.

Some advisors are based in Sexual Assault Referral Centres (SARCs) or specialist sexual violence voluntary organisations.

They provide the link with essential services such as victim and witness organisations, counselling and health, to ensure that the safety of the victim is co-ordinated across all agencies.

There are three advisors based in Cheshire. Please contact Rape and Sexual Abuse Support Centre (Cheshire and Merseyside) on 01925 221546 to speak to your local ISVA.

Support Services for Victims

Chester Sexual Abuse Support Service

CSASS offers free telephone support, information, signposting and face to face counselling to anyone aged 18 and over who has experienced sexual violence at any time during their lives.

Phone:

Helpline - 0808 2840484, helpline open Mondays and Wednesdays between 6pm and 8pm

Enquiries and counselling appointments - 01244 307499

Email: info@csass.org.uk  

Rape and Sexual Abuse Support Centre (RASASC) Cheshire and Merseyside

The Rape and Sexual Abuse Support Centre (RASASC) Cheshire and Merseyside provides Independent Sexual Violence Advisors and Counselling to women, men, young people and their families who have experienced any form of sexual violence. 

Further information: Rape Support Leaflet (PDF)

Phone: 01925 221546

Helpline opening hours: Monday to Friday 8.30am to 4.30pm

Email: support@rapecentre.org.uk

Rape Crisis

Rape Crisis provides a range of special services for women and girls that have been raped or experience another form of sexual violence, whether as adults or children.

Phone: 0808 8029999

12am - 2.30pm/7pm - 9.30pm

Women’s Aid

Women’s Aid is a key national charity working in England to end domestic violence against women and children.

Phone: 0808 2000 247

Victim Support

Victim Support is the national charity for victims and witnesses of crime in England and Wales. They give free and confidential advice to victims of crime, their family, friends and anyone else affected.

Phone: 01270 750 068 for the Cheshire Victim Support Group. Nationally the number is 0845 3030 900

Survivors UK

Survivors UK provides information, support and counselling for men who have been raped or sexually abused.

Phone: 0845 122 1201

Sexual Assault Referral Centre (SARC)

Phone: 0161 276 6515