If you decide to report to the police, or if you want a forensic medical examination at the SARC, time is an important consideration. If you want forensic evidence to be collected, you should try and go to Oakwood Place (the SARC) straight away if you can, or at least within 72 hours of the rape or assault.
It doesn’t matter how long ago the rape or sexual assault happened. It still helps to tell someone and to be able to talk about it with people who understand what you are going through.
The main services are counselling and emotional support, and advocacy services. Independent Sexual Violence Advisors (ISVAs) provide help for people who have reported to the Police and need support through the Court process.
If you contact Essex Police they aim to carry out a thorough investigation with your welfare and safety as a priority. They have a team of specially trained officers who will do everything they can to treat you and your family with care and sensitivity throughout any investigation, court proceedings and beyond.
For further details of what to expect see www.essex.police.uk/be_safe/rape.aspx
Here are some safety tips that you might find useful when out and about:
- Be clear about where you are going, who you are with and how you will get home Let others know if you are feeling uncomfortable or uneasy in a situation
- Know your boundaries and be comfortable about expressing them
- Be aware! Drink and drugs can affect your reactions as well as your ability to be alert
- If you are using the internet, be very careful with who you are chatting to online. Unfortunately there are people out there who use the internet as a way of meeting young people purely for the purposes of sexual assault or rape. If you do make friends online and you want to meet them you should definitely tell an adult about plans.
At Oakwood Place (Essex SARC) victims of sexual abuse can access advice about their options in a safe and welcoming environment.