It is entirely up to the person who has disclosed whether they report the abuse or assault.
You may find it hard to understand if the person chooses not to, but it is important that they feel in control of this decision and they do not feel judged. There are many reasons why someone might choose not to report and the best thing you can do is to listen and support the person and give them the choices that they have. These are:
- Contact their local Police.
- Contact the nearest Sexual Assault Referral Centre (SARC), which will help them navigate their way through the available options for support, such as sexual and mental health services. They can also advise if the person is unsure about contacting the Police. The SARC can help them give “anonymous intelligence” to the Police. This means that they do not have to give their name or other details to the Police, but the information can be kept and cross referenced with other information found on the Police system.
- Contact IDAS directly on 03000 110 110. Our confidential helpline is available between 8.00am and 11.00pm daily and we can help the person talk through their options. We have a number of highly trained Independent Sexual Violence Advisors who can talk with them on the telephone, by video call or meet with them in a safe location.
- Talk with their GP or other Healthcare Professional. Again, it is their choice whether they report the abuse to the Police.
Sometimes it may be necessary to call Adult Social Care Services. Having experienced sexual violence does not necessarily make someone vulnerable, but it may be that there are other factors, such as a physical or learning disability that makes the person more vulnerable, and in this case a referral to Social Care may need to be made. It is important to remember, however, that if a person has “capacity” i.e. they can understand the consequences of their actions and decisions, they should be given the choice as to what happens next. It is always best to talk with the person about contacting Social Care and to have their consent to do so, as this will mean that any support agencies can offer will be more effective. If you believe that the person does not have “capacity”, i.e. they are not able to understand or retain the information they are given in order to make their own decisions, then you can speak with Social Care without the person’s consent.