If the attack has just happened make sure you go to a safe place, and call somebody to support you who you feel safe with. If you are at risk of attack again you need to think about your safety. You could call the police on 999 if it is an emergency situation.
Reporting to the police?
Nobody can tell you whether you should or should not report the attack to the police. This has to be your own decision. If you want to report to the police it is a good idea to preserve the forensic evidence on your clothes and body and call the North Yorkshire police on 101 or 999 in an emergency. Forensic and medical evidence is best collected soon after the attack but some evidence may still be found up to ten days later. To preserve evidence;
- Do not wash
- Do not eat or drink
- Do not change your clothes, or if you do, put them in a clean carrier bag to hand to the police
- Do not go to the toilet
- Do not clean up anything from the area of the incident
- Do not brush your teeth or have a cigarette
When you call the police they will come out to see you to take an initial statement before taking you to a discreet centre equipped to collect evidence from rape victims, with doctors trained specifically for the role who will also provide emergency medical help. Specially trained officers will support you through this process, and arrange to take statements from you.
A Sexual Abuse Referral Centre has recently opened in the North Yorkshire area. A full list of SARC’s in England and Wales can be found at www.rapecrisis.org.uk. A Sexual Abuse Referral Centre will collect your forensic and medical evidence and store it in case at some point in the future you would like to report to the police. They will also provide crisis support.
Do you have physical injuries?
If you have physical injuries you may need to go to your nearest accident and emergency department. If you know somebody who will support you, ask them to take you. Accident and emergency will not contact the police unless you ask them to.
Sexual health and risk of pregnancy
For emergency contraception, and help with avoiding the developing sexual diseases and HIV, it is a good idea to attend your local sexual health clinic. For a full list of clinics in North Yorkshire and helpful information go to the sexual health website www.yorsexualhealth.org.uk. The morning-after pill can also be obtained from a chemist or GP.
Remember you are not alone. If you need emotional support, to talk through your options or to find out information about the police process or the criminal justice system, contact us and we will do our best to help you.