Reporting to the police

If you decide to go straight to the Police, call 999 in an emergency (or 112 from mobile phones) and 101 in a non-emergency.

The police are committed to supporting those who have experienced rape or serious sexual assault. They have a team of specially trained Sexual Offences Liaison Officers (SOLOs) to support you.

You can report abuse at a police station or call the Police who will arrange for a SOLO to come and talk to you. You can choose whether to speak to a male or female SOLO, who will be your ongoing single point of contact. This person will keep you updated about any progress in your case or investigation.

They will ask you the following initial questions:

  • Your name and address.
  • When and where you were assaulted.
  • What happened to you
  • Whatever you can tell us about the attacker (what they looked or sounded like, what they were wearing, how old they were, etc.) or if you know who they are. We want to be able to pass on a description so that our police officers on patrol can be looking out for them.

You can have a friend or family member present when you meet the police.

We realise it might be difficult or embarrassing to talk about what has happened, but it is important that you tell the police everything you can remember. If you don’t understand any words the police use, or what they are telling you, please ask them to try and explain it to you in a different way. You will always be treated with sensitivity and respect.

It is a good idea to let the Police have any unwashed clothing you were wearing at the time of the sexual assault. You will need to tell the police where this clothing is and an officer will advise you of the best action to take.

For more information on forensic medical examinations and the formal interview process, press the "Read More" button below.

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Forensic medical examination and the formal interview process:

You may be asked to give your permission to being examined by a specialist forensic medical examiner. This is to retrieve vital DNA evidence after the assault and to assess/record your injuries and get you the appropriate medical help.

Once a SOLO has made initial contact with you it will be necessary to undergo a digitally recorded interview in a specialist until separate from the police station.  If you decide to report the assault, (you will need to be prepared to give the SOLO as much information, in as much detail as possible). The officer will understand that the interview is likely to be difficult for you. They should understand that you may need to take things slowly and have breaks when you need to. If you feel you need a break, please tell the officer. It is in everybody’s interests that you are as comfortable as possible during the interview. Otherwise your account may suffer by missing important details. The SOLO is trained to make sure you are treated tactfully and sensitively during this interview.

Normally the interview will take place in a specialist unit separate from the police station.  It will be recorded using a discrete camera and microphones and recorded on DVD. If you are interviewed in this way, the police can apply to have this played in court if the case gets to trial. However, you will have the option to make a written statement of your evidence. This would be fully explained to you by your SOLO.

Will I have to go to Court?

That’s up to you. If the results of the police investigation pass certain tests regarding evidence, your case may go to court.  At all stages throughout the investigation process, your ISVA will keep you informed and supported.

You can access a detailed booklet on reporting to the police and the criminal justice processcalled From Report to Court: A HandbookforAdult Survivors of Sexual Violence or you can download it here. This booklet is provided by Rights of Women.  

Click here if you would like more information on getting justice following sexual violence/abuse.

  

 

 

 

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