What to do if you are a victim of crime

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If you experience a crime it’s your call whether to or not but you could protect someone from future harm if you make the assailant and incident known to the police.

If you wish to report to the police then you should feel able to do so.  If the incident you want to report happened in a club a responsible club would back you up and support you.  If someone at the club tried to put you off reporting or tells you not to report remember, it’s your decision don’t feel pressurised by them!

To report an incident call 999.

You can also report any incident to Crimestoppers Tel: 0800 555 111  www.crimestoppers-uk.org

Some towns and cities may be part of partnership groups with the police and other clubs and bars. They may have special police contacts or liaison officers.  These can be good people to report to as they should be familiar with the club scene and offer an appropriate, sympathetic and professional response. Ask the managers at the clubs you work in if they have such contacts.

If you are Attacked

  • Memorise as much as you can about the assailant, their vehicles (should one be involved). Get details like:-
    • Hair colour, style, length
    • Build, height, age, skin tone
    • Earrings, chains, rings, watches
    • Distinguishing features such as scarring, spots, facial hair, tattoos, piercings
    • Eye colour, glasses
    • Accent, speech impediment, expressions used
    • Aftershave
    • Physical disabilities
    • Clothing and footwear: style, brand name labels, rips/tears, badges
    • Vehicle: make, model, colour, registration plate, bumps/scrapes, items inside, stickers
    • House/flat: address, area, type of property, door colour, features in rooms, photographs etc.
    • Any other information that would help other workers/police identify them.
  • Remember there may be CCTV cameras where you were attacked which may help identify attackers.
  • Remember the date and time of the incident with the “ugly mug”

As a general guide try to remember: Who, where, when and what happened!

WHAT YOU CAN DO AFTER A SEXUAL ASSAULT

  • Remember that the attack is not your fault.
  • Find a safe place away from the attacker. Ask a friend or work colleague to stay with you.
  • Seriously consider reporting the attack to the police. They are there to help you.  Police forces now have specially trained offers to deal with victims of rape and sexual assault. See the section on reporting crime.
  • If you are considering reporting the attack to the police preserve the evidence. Don’t bathe, shower, brush your teeth or change your clothes. If you do change your clothes, don’t wash the ones you were wearing at the time of the attack. Put them into a carrier bag and tie it closed. This will help to avoid contaminating the evidence. If the attack happened in the home, do not disturb the scene as there might be vital evidence there.
  • If you are considering reporting the attack to the police write down all the details you remember about the attack. What did they do? What did they look like? What did they say?

In some areas you can go to a Sexual Assault Referral Centre where they will; examine you, preserve all the evidence, offer you counselling and support, support you to decide if you want to report to the police. You can have all these services even if you choose to have no police involvement. Sexual Assault Referral Centres or SARCS are specialist 24/7 services for people who have been raped or sexually assaulted.  They aim to be one-stop services, providing the following under one roof: medical care and forensic examination following assault/rape, counselling and – in some locations – sexual health services. Services are free of charge and provided to women, men, young people and children (although not all centres may currently be able to assist children). This Home Office link has a list of all Sexual Assault Referral Centres in England and Wales.   www.homeoffice.gov.uk/crime-victims/reducing-crime/sexual-offences/sexual-assault-referral-centres/

  • Get medical attention. Even if you have no physical injuries, it is important to get checked for sexually transmitted infections and pregnancy, and to obtain any forensic evidence left by the attack. Sexual Assault Referral Centre’s (SARCS) or Rape Crisis Centres can help you with this. You can go to your local GUM service for free sexual health screening and PEP. All these are confidential services that will not pass information to the police unless you want that.
  • If you report to the police give the police all the details about the attack, however intimate, including anything unusual you noted about the attacker.Show police any external bruises or injuries, however minor, resulting from the attack.Remember that the police may need to take your clothes as evidence.  Tell the police if you remember anything else later on. Things sometimes come back to us days or weeks after a trauma has happened.
  • Recognise that healing from this kind of attack takes time. Give yourself all the time you need.

Think about phoning your local Rape Crisis, sexual violence support project or victim support. They can provide you with both immediate and long term support.

National Rape Crisis: www.rapecrisis.org.uk can provide you with contact details for your local rape crisis service.

Rape Crisis Scotland: www.rapecrisisscotland.org.uk
Free phone helpline: 08088 010302
For people living in Scotland they provide details about support services in Scotland.

Rape Crisis and Sexual Abuse Centre Northern Ireland: http://www.rapecrisisni.com
028 9032 9002 (24 hour crisis helpline)

The Survivors Trust: www.thesurvivorstrust.org  can provide information about support services in the UK working with women, men and children who are victims/survivors of rape, sexual violence and childhood sexual abuse.