What happens after you report a rape or sexual assault to the Police?

What happens after you report a rape or sexual assault to the Police?

Many people who have experienced sexual violence have never had any other contact with the Police, so may not understand what happens when they report a crime.

If you are in immediate danger, you should always call 999.  If you are safe, but want to report a crime you can either go into your local police station or call 101. You will be asked to give an initial account of what happened.

The police will be wanting to know

  • Who did this?
  • What happened?
  • Where did it happen?
  • When did it happen?

You may not know the answers to all the questions but the more you can tell them, the better the chances of finding the suspect are. The Police will be assessing the offence(s) that need to be investigated and assessing your immediate health and welfare needs. Your case will be assigned to an Officer who is specially trained to investigate a sexual offence

If the Police can identify and locate the suspect, they may be arrested. That decision is based on the risk to the wider public. If the Police believe there is ongoing risk, either to yourself or others, they will act.

After you have given the first account an Officer in the Case (OIC) will be assigned. They are responsible for investigating and securing the evidence. They will be a plain clothes officer who is trained in investigating serious sexual assaults and rape.

Your Officer will be a single point of contact throughout the investigation. They will explain to you what is happening at each stage and answer any questions you might have. One of the first tasks will be to take a detailed account from you. This can be in the form of a written statement or a visually recorded interview. They’ll talk through these options with you beforehand.

Another task will be to take a statement from the ‘first complainant’. This is the first person to whom you disclosed what happened to you; usually a friend, colleague, Police Officer or someone else that you trust.

As a rule, your Officer will keep you informed of how the investigation is going at least every 28 days, or sooner if there are any updates.

Get in touch via isva@idas.org.uk or ring our helpline on 03000 110 110.
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