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Student Hub

Rape and Sexual Assault


Being raped or sexually assaulted is a very distressing experience with effects that can be long lasting. Here is some generic information which can help you. The advice and suggestions that follow are relevant to both men and women. People who have suffered sexual attacks describe feeling:

  • Frightened
  • Guilty
  • Angry
  • Anxious
  • Shame
  • Depressed
  • Numb
  • Lacking self-confidence
  • Powerless

It can be difficult to talk to friends and family about what has happened; many people find it helpful in these circumstances to speak to a trained person in confidence.

Facts about rape and sexual assault

There are several myths around rape and sexual assault; one very important thing is to remember that is not your fault.

  • The majority of rapes and sexual assaults are carried out by someone known to the victim. They may be a friend, partner, workmate, neighbour or a person in authority. It is a myth that sexual violence is only or usually carried out by strangers.
  • Whatever the circumstances, rape or sexual assault either by a stranger or someone you know, it is never your fault. Nothing you have done or not done warrants sexual or physical violence. It makes no difference if you had been drinking or taking drugs; what you were wearing is also irrelevant. The perpetrator is always responsible for their behaviour.
  • Rape and sexual assault is about the use of power and force to humiliate, control, hurt or violate, rather than about sexual desire or passion.
  • Appearance, age, status, cultural background, occupation or previous relationships are irrelevant to this form of abuse; anyone can suffer serious sexual assault.
  • A large number of sexual attacks are pre-meditated.

What to do after a rape or sexual assault

Reporting to the University

You do not have to tell anyone about what has happened if you don’t want to, but there are lots of people across our University who can help you get the support you need, such as your personal tutor, a Student Liaison Officer or a Residential Officer.  They won’t normally report to the Police without your consent, unless the rape or sexual assault was violent and the perpetrator was not known to you, and could represent a risk to others.  Our primary concern is with ensuring that you receive the necessary practical and emotional support to help you manage the situation, as well as supporting you in reporting the incident, if you choose to.  Our Student Wellbeing Team is made up of counsellors, mental health practitioners and chaplains who can offer free, confidential support and a ‘safe space’ in which you can talk through what has happened and what you want to do about it; counsellors are exempt from any requirement to report a rape / sexual assault.

 

Allegations of sexual assault or sexual harassment by another student

 

 If you experience inappropriate behaviour of any kind, including sexual harassment or sexual assault, from a fellow student and don’t want to report the incident to the Police but do want the University to take some action, you can make a formal complaint against the student under the Student Complaints Procedure or make a formal allegation against the student under the Student Code of DisciplineA formal internal investigation of the incident will then be undertaken by a senior member of staff and sanctions under the Student Code of Discipline will be applied, as appropriate.  You will be advised to contact the Students’ Union for advice / representation during either of these process.

 

Allegations of sexual assault or sexual harassment by a member of staff


The Student Complaints process also applies if you experience inappropriate behaviour from a member of staff.  An investigation will be undertaken and the Staff Disciplinary Procedure applied, as appropriate.

 

Reporting to the Police


Sexual violence is a criminal offence and can be reported to the Police, who have specially trained officers to deal in allegations of rape and sexual assault.  If you do decide to report the incident to the police, the criminal process and police investigation will take priority over a University investigation, so an internal investigation and disciplinary process would only be carried out if you have chosen not to report the allegation to the police, or after the police investigation has concluded.

 

If you would like support or advice but would rather not speak to a police officer or someone in the university, there are other agencies that can help:

West Yorkshire SARC (Sexual Assault Referral Centre) offers a free, sensitive, confidential and non-judgmental service to both males and females; the staff are happy to support you and help you make decisions about who else you might want to inform. The service is available whether or not you decide to report the incident to the police. They aim to provide a safe and supportive environment to enable you to talk openly and freely. Contact with the SARC is completely voluntary and confidential.

Services that are available within the SARC are:

  • Access to a Forensic Medical Examiner

  • Referral care pathways for ongoing healthcare needs

  • Referral care pathways to the ISVA (Independent Sexual Advisors) service, who provide emotional and practical support including advice and guidance throughout the Criminal Justice journey

Health Issues

Many people who have been raped or sexually assaulted are concerned about their health. Hospitals and GPs are able to see people on a confidential basis and not report the assault to the police, if that is what you request.

You may decide to be tested for pregnancy or sexually transmitted diseases. If you prefer not to use your GP, pregnancy tests can be carried out at The Centre for Sexual Health in Leeds city centre or at a Pregnancy Advice Centre in your area. In addition, there are local Genito Urinary Medicine (GUM) clinics which offer free confidential advice, where testing can be also carried out for diseases and HIV infection. You may have bruising and other injuries that need medical attention from the Accident and Emergency (A&E) department at a local hospital.

Leeds Student Medical Practice: – 0113 295 4488

Plus Icon West Yorkshire SARC (Sexual Assault Referral Centre)

SARC is a jointly funded initiative between West Yorkshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner and NHS England aimed at improving the provision of services to victims of rape and serious sexual assault.

The West Yorkshire SARC offers a free, sensitive, confidential and non-judgmental service to both males and females, the staff are happy to support you and help you make decisions about who else you might want to inform. The service is available whether or not you decide to report the incident to the police. They aim to provide a safe and supportive environment to enable you to talk openly and freely. Contact with the SARC is completely voluntary.

To access these services or to obtain further information please contact the Sexual Assault Referral Centre (SARC) on 01924 298954.

Plus Icon Victim Support

Victim Support can help anyone of all genders affected by crime, not only victims and some witnesses, but their friends, family and any other people involved. Because they're an independent charity, you can talk to them whether or not you reported the crime to the police. They can support you without the involvement of the criminal justice system, and won’t contact them about you unless they feel someone is at risk.

Local victim care team in West Yorkshire on 0300 303 1971 (Lines are open 8am-8pm Monday to Friday and 9am-5pm Saturday.)

If you need support outside of our open hours, call our Supportline for free on 08 08 16 89 111 or request support via our website.

Plus Icon Support After Rape and Sexual Violence in Leeds

Face-to-face emotional support appointments are available in the city centre women-only safe space during opening hours on Mondays from 6pm, Wednesdays from 6pm and Sundays from 2pm.

The support they provide face-to-face is exactly the same as on the telephone, text and email services. You can also telephone or email them for support.
Plus Icon Students' Union Advice Centre

If you have been a victim of any form of sexual assault or violence, the Advice Centre can offer you practical advice and support on what you can do next; they understand that you may not always want to report this to the police, but the SU Advice service can point you in the direction of places that can provide you emotional support and can help you in your next stages if you do choose to report what has happened.

Plus Icon Student Wellbeing Team

The Student Wellbeing Team offers a free and confidential service aimed at providing you with information, practical and therapeutic support to help you manage any difficulties you are experiencing. The team can advise you about reporting a crime and support you through the process as well as signpost you to other services that can help with emotional and practical support.

As well as offering one to one support a range of self-help materials can be found on the student wellbeing web pages.

Useful contacts

University Services

External Services (including, but not limited to)

  • West Yorkshire SARC (Sexual Assault Referral Centre): 01924 298 954
  • SARSVL (Support After Rape and Sexual Violence) - women only: supportafterrapeleeds.org.uk / 0808 802 3344
  • Victim Support: www.victimsupport.org.uk / 0845 303 0900
  • Rape Crisis: www.rapecrisis.org.uk
  • The Centre for Sexual Health: leedssexualhealth.com/services/merrion-centre
  • Connect Helpline: Emotional Support Helpline (18:00 – 22:30pm) - 0808 800 1212
  • Leeds Student Medical Practice: 0113 295 4488
  • Samaritans (24hours): 116 123 / 0113 2456789
  • Nightline (listening and advice telephone service): 0113 380 1381
  • Elland Road Police Station: Elland Road, Leeds, LS11 8BU - Tel: 101. Opening times: Mon-Sun 8am to 10pm

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