Sexual violence can happen to anyone. It can leave people feeling numb, angry, scared, confused or depressed.
We help people to recover after they have been impacted by sexual violence. Our help is available to everyone, it does not matter when the abuse took place or if it was reported to the police.
We understand it can be difficult to make the decision to seek help or report the incident. We are here to offer you guidance and can support you through the Criminal Justice System, if you wish.
What is consent?
Consent happens when people give their permission to take part in sexual activity. To give consent you must have the freedom and capacity to make your choice.
Everyone has the right to consent or not to consent to any form of sexual activity. This means we also have the right to safely withdraw our consent at any point.
How to give consent
One way to give consent is to say yes or no. Sometimes it is not possible to do this, especially if a person is frightened.
Signs that a person does not give consent include pushing you away or freezing.
A useful phrase to remember is: “if it’s not an enthusiastic yes, it’s a no”.
The law and consent
No child aged under 16 can legally give consent to sexual activity.
There are other times that a person is not able to give consent, these are
When a person cannot understand what is happening due to the use of alcohol and / or drugs
When a person is asleep or unconscious
It is also illegal for a person in a position of trust (such as a teacher) to have a sexual relationship with a young person aged 16 and 17.
Myths about sexual violence
Myth – Women who drink or take drugs deserve it if they get raped or sexually assaulted.
FACT – no one is ever to blame for being raped or sexually harmed.
MYTH – You can’t rape your partner.
FACT – It doesn’t matter what your relationship is. If the person did not consent, it is rape and it is illegal.
MYTH – Sex workers can’t be raped.
FACT – Anyone can be the victim of rape: rape is sex that happens without consent.
MYTH – Men can’t be raped.
FACT – Men can and are the victims of rape. Sexual violence can happen to anyone at any time.
MYTH – Women can’t commit sexual violence.
FACT – Whilst the majority of sexual violence is committed by men, women can and do perpetrate sexual violence.
How we can help
We support anyone who has been affected by sexual violence, it does not matter when it happened or if it was reported to the police.
If you need help, contact us here
In an emergency, please call the police or ambulance service by phoning 999.
If you have recently been raped or sexually assaulted, you can visit a Sexual Assault Referral Centre (SARC) for medical, practical and emotional support. During your visit, the staff there will be able to complete a forensic medical examination to collect evidence – regardless of whether you choose to report to the Police or not. To find your nearest SARC, please visit: Find rape and sexual assault referral centres - NHS (www.nhs.uk)
Hear from people we’ve helped
Great support and help to deal with incident and how it was progressing from police to court. Then helping to deal with feelings after court. I was also given tools to help deal with emotions which will help with recovery and laying the past back in the past.
[My Independent Sexual Violence Advisor] was extremely supportive throughout, he listened, offered reassurance and answered any questions I had regarding the court proceeding... Overall, I am very grateful for the support provided from him.