No-one should suffer sexual assault in silence. Here are the places you can go for help
No-one should suffer sexual assault, abuse or violence, but it’s sadly a very common occurrence.
According to Rape Crisis England and Wales, nearly half a million adults are sexually assaulted in England and Wales each year. And about 1 in 5 women will experience some form of sexual violence during their adult lives.
Sexual violence also impacts young people. The Office for National Statistics found that over a third of rape survivors were under 16 years old.
If you’ve suffered any form of sexual violence, there are places you can go for help and support. You don’t have to report an assault to the police if you don’t want to. You may need time to think about what’s happened to you, and process your feelings before deciding what to do.
Below are some specialist services for survivors of sexual violence in the UK. This list will be regularly updated to make it as comprehensive as possible.
For specialist medical attention and sexual violence support, your first point of call is a sexual assault referral centre (SARC) (Whether you decide to have a forensic medical examination or not).
These places have specially trained doctors, nurses and support staff who will look after you. You can refer yourself to a SARC even if you don’t want to report your assault to the police. Below is a video about what you can expect when visiting an SARC.
Rape Crisis England and Wales is a specialist service for women and girls who’ve been raped or experienced any other form of sexual violence at any time. They currently have 45 member organisations, providing services in 56 locations across England and Wales.
Rape Crisis offer a range of support, advocacy, counselling and information, in women-only safe spaces. And some provide separate space and services for male sexual violence survivors, and/or for men supporting a survivor.
Freephone 0808 802 9999 from 12 noon-2:30pm and 7-9:30pm every day of the year.
Galop is a specialist support service for all LGBT+ people who have experienced sexual violence.
Galop provides a free, confidential and independent service for all LGBT+ people who have experienced sexual assault, violence or abuse, however or whenever it happened.
Its service is open to adults and young people (from age 13+), including those who are questioning but not yet sure about their identity.
Call 020 7704 2040 (ask to speak to someone from the Sexual Violence Support Service) or email email@example.com
The Survivors Trust (TST) is a UK-wide national umbrella agency for 130 specialist organisations. They support people affected by rape, sexual violence, and childhood sexual abuse throughout the UK and Ireland. Their website contains a list of Independent Sexual Violence Advisor (ISVA) services, which provide advocacy and practical support services for survivors. They also have a list of Sexual Assault Referral Centres (SARCs).
SurvivorsUK is a service for male survivors of sexual violation. They are inclusive, and welcome anyone who identifies as male, trans, non-binary, has identified as male in the past, or anyone who feels that the service is the right fit for them.
The Havens are a network of three specialist sexual assault referral centres (SARCs) located across London. They are open 24/7, and work closely together to ensure the same level of service is provided wherever a victim/survivor of sexual assault presents.
They also have advice and support available for family and friends of people who have suffered sexual violence.
Victim Support’s services are confidential, free and available to anyone who is a survivor os rape or sexual assault, now or in the past. They can help, regardless of whether you have told the police or anyone else about the attack.
Volunteers can visit you at home or somewhere else if you prefer, or you can visit a local office. If you don’t want to see anyone face-to-face, you can also talk to them on the phone at the national Victim Supportline.
The organisations campaign for justice and protection for all women and girls, including asylum seekers, who have suffered sexual, domestic and/or racist violence.
If you would like to see a support centre or network added to the list, please contact us: firstname.lastname@example.org