Created by Southampton's Safer Students Forum
Advice for Students- What to do if you have recently experience a sexual assault
If someone has done something of a sexual nature without your consent which has hurt you or made you feel uncomfortable you may have experienced a form of sexual violence. Sexual violence can be perpetrated by a complete stranger, or by someone known and trusted such as a friend, family member, partner or an ex-partner.
If you are a student and think you or someone you know might have been affected by sexual violence this document details where you can go for help and what the university can do to support you.
1) Are you safe?
Before you do anything else, if you are in any immediate danger, think someone else might be or require any urgent medical treatment call 999. You can also contact residence staff if you are living in halls.
If you aren’t in any immediate danger, you might still be in shock and should find a safe, warm place to go to and see if a friend can meet you there.
2) Do you need some time to decide what to do?
Each person’s reaction to a sexual assault will be different as will the effect that it has on you. If you aren’t in immediate harm and need to take some time to work out what you want to do this is ok, but please be aware that there are some important time considerations. Even if you do not want to report the assault to the Police right away, you may still wish to access medical treatment:
• If you think you might have been given any type of drug, it is best to be tested within 24 hours.
• If you want emergency contraception, the medication needs to be taken within 72 hours.
• If you would like or think you might need HIV prophylaxis, medication should be started within 36 hours.
Sexual Assault Referral Centres (SARC) can help you to access all of the above. They also have specially trained doctors who are able to take forensic evidence from you. Evidence can be stored for you whilst you think about what you want to do, but it is advisable that evidence is taken as soon as possible after an incident to avoid cross contamination. You can visit SARC even if you do not wish to report to the police.
3) Reporting a sexual assault
There are a number of different ways you can report a sexual assault. There is no right or wrong way and only you can decide what is best for you. Even if you feel unable to report an assault to the police, you can still seek help by contacting Treetops, the Hampshire and Isle of Wight’s Sexual Assault Referral Centre on 023 9221 0352 or visit www.solent.nhs.uk/treetop
Reporting to the police:
Hampshire Constabulary has trained officers to respond to any report of rape or serious sexual assault. A Specially Trained Officer (STO) will be assigned to each victim. The officer will support you from the point of report through to the conclusion of the case. The police can help you attend the SARC to get forensic evidence. You can report an incident to the police in person at your local station or over the phone by dialling 101. A friend, family member or other person is able to do this on your behalf if you are anxious about this.
You can also report anonymously to the police. It is possible to pass on information to the police about a crime without giving them your information or officially reporting the incident. Any information passed on might help the police to build a picture of what sorts of incidents are happening and where. However, the police cannot prosecute anyone for your attack without your support. Anonymous reporting is best to do through a SARC centre or voluntary agency, but can also be done through 101.
Reporting to the University:
If you have been affected by an incident of sexual violence we strongly advise that you either drop in or arrange to speak to someone from Student 1st Support who can discuss with you the situation you are in and the steps you want to take. When it comes to your studies, an incident of sexual violence can impact you in a number of ways and we want to make sure you are aware of the various ways that we can help. If you know the perpetrator of the assault and know them to be a student here, we can talk to you about this and the measures that could be taken about this.