Reporting Sexual Violence

Reporting to the Police is your decision that no-one should force you in to making and there is no time-limit on when you can do it if this is what you want.

If you do decide to report an incident, then you don’t have to do it alone – our list of organisations and useful contacts will help you to find the right people to support you through the process.

Many people believe that if they disclose that they have been the victim of sexual violence to a counsellor, helpline operator or to someone in a Sexual Assault Referral Centre (SARC) that they will tell the Police. This should never be the case and if someone does need to pass on information you’ve given them, it should only be if there is a risk that you or a child or vulnerable adult may be seriously harmed.

If you make a report to the Police, it is likely that it will be taken by a specially trained Police Officer.

If you call, they may ask if they can meet with you face to face to talk about what has happened and take down some information. They will advise you on the support available and are likely to refer you to a Sexual Assault Referral Centre (SARC) where they can assess any medical needs, such as sexual health screening and gather forensic medical evidence (if the incident is recent) that could be used in an investigation.

Some Centres also have Independent Sexual Violence Advisors, who can support you through this process, and if not, then the Centre will help you to find some alternative support.

Both men and women can access a Sexual Assault Referral Centre and you don’t have to have reported the incident to the Police to use their services.

For more in-depth information about the reporting process, visit the St Mary’s Sexual Assault Referral Centre website: www.stmaryscentre.org