Immediate Support After Sexual Violence
If you have just been raped or sexually assaulted, or know someone else who has, and you feel like you need more immediate support, you may find the following information helpful
It is important that you should:
- Try to stay somewhere that feels safe
- Try and keep warm as you may be in shock
- See if a friend or someone you trust can be with you
If you feel as though you are able to, talk to someone about what has happened. If you don’t feel like talking to someone you know about what has happened, you can contact the national Rape Crisis helpline on 0808 802 9999 between 12 noon – 2.30pm and 7-9.30 pm every day of the year. They can offer confidential support and information about your nearest services.
If you need urgent medical care or attention, call 999 (or 112 from a mobile) and ask for an ambulance, or go straight to your nearest Accident & Emergency department.
If you’re not sure whether you want to make a police report yet, you have the option to go directly to a Sexual Assault Referral Centre (SARC). If you can, it is good to take a friend or trusted person with you. At the SARC you can have:
- Forensic medical examination
- Tests for Sexually Transmitted Infections
- Pregnancy Testing
They also have specially trained professionals who can help and support you through your immediate trauma. It is entirely your choice whether you want to report the incident to the police. The forensic evidence collected when you visit a SARC can be stored for if you wish to make a police report at a future date. For more information on reporting, see our report page.
The Hazelhurst Centre is the West Yorkshire SARC. It is open 24 hours a day, and you can call them for advice and to make an appointment.
Their numbers are:
- 0330 223 3617 (day time number)
- 0330 223 0099 (night time number)
If you are not currently in Leeds then you can find your nearest SARC here or by calling NHS 111.
If you want forensic evidence to be collected, time is an important thing to consider, and forensic evidence must be collected within 72 hours of the rape or assault, if possible.
If possible, try to take these steps:
- Do not wash
- Do not brush your teeth
- Do not have a cigarette
- Do not eat or drink
- Do not change your clothes
- If you do change your clothes, do not wash them but put them in a clean plastic bag
- Try not to go to the toilet
- Do not clear up anything from the area of the incident
Don't worry if you have already done some of these things. It's possible that there is still forensic evidence to collect.
If you feel as though your life is in immediate danger, please call 999 (or 112 from a mobile).
If you are a woman experiencing domestic violence and you need immediate support you can call the 24-hour National Domestic Violence Freephone Helpline on 0808 2000 247. The helpline is staffed by fully trained female helpline support workers and volunteers.
The Leeds Domestic Violence 24 Hour helpline is open to anyone experiencing domestic violence and abuse seeking confidential advice and support. You can call them on 0113 246 0401.
Leeds Women’s Aid offers 24 hour safe accommodation for anyone fleeing an abusive relationship. You can contact them on 0113 246 0401.