Ahead of Sexual Abuse and Sexual Violence week, this newspaper has asked award-winning charity, Northamptonshire Rape Crisis (NRC), what victims should do if they have been raped or sexually assaulted.
CEO Dawn Thomas said: “Anyone who’s been subjected to rape or any form of sexual violence or abuse has the right to report it to the police and pursue criminal justice, no matter how long ago it happened.
"If anyone who’s been through something like this is considering reporting to the police but feeling unsure, they can contact Northamptonshire Rape Crisis for specialist, independent and
confidential support and information.
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"We don’t tell victims and survivors what to do and we won’t pressure you into any course of action – we will just support you to make decisions that feel right for you and help you move forward positively with your life."
The charity has this month been awarded The Rape Crisis England & Wales Quality Mark following a recent assessment by the national organisation that governs local Rape Crisis Centres.
Dawn added: "It is important to remember that not all survivors of sexual violence or abuse are seeking a criminal justice outcome, many clients who choose not to report and will access NRC’s services for trauma base counselling, emotional support or group work.”
It comes as Northamptonshire Police launched their #NoConsentNoSex campaign in December, which delivers the message that just because someone has been drinking or may have already engaged in some level of intimacy, such as kissing, if they don’t actively consent to sex, it’s rape.
Rape can be life-changing for the victim and it’s important that any woman or man who has experienced any type of sexual assault gets support.
What happens after you report rape or sexual assault?
The circumstances behind any report of rape or sexual assault are unique, so the way the police investigate each one can vary.
However, every investigation will start with the same steps to make sure police gather as much evidence as they can, as quickly as they can, while giving victims all the support and advice they need.
Find out here what happens after you report rape or sexual assault and the support available to you during the process.
Do I have to go to the police?
Going to the police isn’t the only option and there are other organisations that can provide advice and support, whether or not the victim decides to report it the police.
Serenity Northants is a Sexual Assault Referral Centre (SARC) who provide a sensitive and confidential service to anyone in Northamptonshire who has been a victim of rape or serious sexual assault.
Call their helpline on 01604 601713Northamptonshire Rape Crisis exists to support victims through the recovery process – from helping you if you’re in crisis, to providing long-term counselling to help you move on.
Call their helpline on 0300 2225930