If you are in immediate danger call 999 now. If you would like to talk to someone, call the Rape Crisis helpline on 0808 802 9999 (lines open 7 days a week 12 – 2.30pm and 7 – 9.30pm).
What is sexual violence?
Sexual violence is any unwanted sexual act or activity. There are many different kinds of sexual violence, including but not restricted to: rape, sexual assault, child sexual abuse, sexual harassment, rape within marriage / relationships, forced marriage, so-called honour-based violence, female genital mutilation, trafficking, sexual exploitation, and ritual abuse. Sexual violence can be perpetrated by a complete stranger, or by someone known and even trusted, such as a friend, colleague, family member, partner or ex-partner. Sexual violence can happen to anyone. No-one ever deserves it.
If you have been raped or sexually assaulted recently
The next step is to get help:
Go to a safe place such as the home of a trusted friend or family member.
If you want to report the assault to the police it is up to you. But the sooner you report rape the more forensic evidence can be collected by the police or a SARC (a Sexual Assault Referral Centre). Advice on contacting Devon and Cornwall Police can be found here or you can call them on 101 and ask to speak to a specially trained Sexual Offences Liaison Officer (SOLO). If you get help immediately after the assault, try not to wash or change your clothes. This may destroy forensic evidence that could be important. If you are not sure if you do want to report the assault to the police you can still go along, with a friend, to your nearest Sexual Assault Referral Centre where you can have a forensic and medical examination. They can store the forensic results until you make up your mind whether to report to the police or not.
If you are not sure what you want to do, then you could phone the Devon Rape Crisis Service 01392 204174 (lines open Mon 3.00pm-6.00pm, Wed 10.00am-1.00pm & Fri 6.00pm-9.00pm) or visit their webpage for more advice.
Whatever you do, consider getting medical help as soon as possible because you may be at risk of pregnancy or sexually transmitted infections (you do not have to have a forensic examination if you go a SARC, A&E or your GP). You may need to receive treatment for your injuries, emergency contraception, and checks for STIs.
If you have been raped or sexually assaulted in the past
There are services in Devon which can offer you support
The Devon Rape and Sexual Abuse Helpline 0808 800 0188 (lines are open Tues, Wed, Thurs, 7pm -10pm),
The Line offers a listening service for men and women aged over 16 years, living in Devon, who have been raped or sexually abused, either recently or in the past. They also offer support for partners, families and friends and provide information about other agencies. The phone number for SAL does not show up on any landline phone records, although may appear on mobile phones.
The Devon Rape Crisis Service offers telephone 01392 204174 (lines are open Mon 3.00pm-6.00pm, Wed 10.00am-1.00pm & Fri 6.00pm-9.00pm), email firstname.lastname@example.org and face to face support. The service is for women aged 18 or over who experienced any of the above in the past, no matter how long ago it happened and women aged 18 or over who are currently experiencing sexual abuse or harassment. They also offer support to partners, family and friends of people who have been raped or sexually abused.
Victim support offers support for both male and female victims of rape and sexual assault. They can be contacted on national supportline on 0845 30 30 900 (calls charged at the local rate).For men there is further information on their website here and for women here.
Advice for young people
Sexual violence is any unwanted sexual act or activity including but not restricted to: rape, sexual assault, sexual harassment, so-called honour-based violence, female genital mutilation, trafficking, sexual exploitation, and ritual abuse. Sexual violence can be perpetrated by a complete stranger, or by someone known and even trusted, such as a friend, colleague, family member, partner or ex-partner.
If you have been raped or experienced any other kind of sexual violence, no matter where you were, what you were doing, what you were wearing, what you were saying, if you were drunk or under the influence of drugs, it was not your fault and you did not deserve this.
If you need help you can talk to someone at a sexual health centre (called GU clinics), your GP or a hospital or you can call Childline on 0800 1111, so you can talk to someone about how you feel.