Choosing not to report after being raped or sexually assaulted is okay…
Many people question what the best thing to do is after being raped or sexually assaulted
There is no right or wrong answer…
Do what is best for you.
If you have been raped or sexually assaulted very recently (within the last 7 days), it would be beneficial to visit a Sexual Assault Referral Centre (SARC) to get a ‘forensic medical examination’. You can do this without having to report the offence to the police. This just means you can have DNA evidence gathered and stored…just in case you decide to report in the future. You may also want to visit a sexual health clinic to check for any STI’s.
There are lots of reasons to report, the most common thing we hear is “I want to stop it from happening to anyone else”, which is extremely kind and considerate, but you are not responsible for other people’s actions. Yes, a conviction may help prevent further offences occurring but that doesn’t have to be your main motive.
A lot of survivors want to know they have done everything they can, whether that is to get justice or closure, but that can look different for different people, it doesn’t have to include getting a conviction. Mostly, survivors want their truth to be heard and believed and there are other ways to achieve that.
Two questions we will always ask a survivor who is struggling to decide…
- Is going through the criminal justice process going to be detrimental to your mental health?
If the answer is yes…Now might not be the right time.
- Is not reporting going to cause further distress and leave you wondering and worrying?
If the answer is yes…It is probably best to report
You do have an option to provide anonymous intelligence about the offence/offender.
You can either go to crime stoppers or most ISVA services will have a facility to take information about the crime and pass it on to the police, without revealing your identity.
The police will check the Police National Database to see if the offender is known to them for similar offences, if so, they may come back to the ISVA to ask for further information. You have no obligation to formally report but it can often be helpful to know that you are not alone in reporting, however sad that might also be.
Whether you decide to report or not, there is help for you.
You can have counselling to deal with the trauma and the impact it has on you
You can have practical support through the ISVA service, in relation to housing, benefits, civil claims, support with medical appointments and more.
If you live in Coventry or Warwickshire and wish to contact our ISVA service please email us now using this form.
If you live outside Coventry and Warwickshire and wish to contact an ISVA please go the Survivors’ Trust website and search using the postcode finder.