If you are unsure whether you want to report a sexual assault to the Police, you may find talking to an Independent Sexual Violence Adviser (ISVA) helpful.
They will talk to you about your options and support whatever decision you make.
Your options are:
- Reporting directly to the Police. You can call 101, giving some details about what has happened and what you wish to report. An officer will then arrange to meet with you and take an account of what happened from you. After this you would make a recorded statement. This is where you give a more detailed account. Following your statement, the Police would carry out a thorough investigation. An ISVA can support you through the Police process if you wish. If the Police think they have enough evidence, the case is then sent to the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS). This is the agency that takes the case to court.
- Continuing to work with an ISVA but not reporting to the Police. Your ISVA will help you look at alternative coping strategies such as counselling, trauma therapy and understanding the impacts of sexual violence
- You could make a “first account” with a member of police staff, (someone who is not a Police Officer, as they would have a duty to investigate a crime). The police staff member would try to ascertain from you the “who, what, when & where”. Obviously some people cannot remember or don’t know many details, which is fine. This account is recorded on paper and is stored securely at the SARC. From this first account you have additional options, including reporting as above or by anonymous intelligence.
- Giving anonymous Intelligence, which means that any reference to you is taken out of the statement, before being stored on a national computer system. If anyone else reports a crime against the same person, or gives anonymous intelligence about that person, the computer will match the information. If this happens, the Officer will then go to the SARC and ask if they can speak to you. At this point the Police still do not have your information so cannot come to you directly. The SARC will ask you if you would be willing to speak to the Officer and make a full statement. You can then decide if you wish to do so without feeling pressured. If you decide to go ahead, you will then be asked to make a statement. This is usually a recorded statement which, if the case gets to court, is used as your evidence.