Sexual abuse

Deciding to report an assault

Talking about an assault can be difficult. It's completely up to you whether you decide to report it to the police. If you do, they will do everything they can to make sure you get the right care and support. Whatever you decide, there are specialist organisations that can help:

  • enter your postcode in the box at the top of this website to find help where you live - you will then find details of services available to you from your local Police and Crime Commissioner
  • visit The Survivors Trust and Rape Crisis England and Wales websites for details of charities that can provide you with specialist help in your region

How to tell the police

The sooner you report an assault, the better chance the police have of collecting evidence.

  • If you're in danger, call 999. Otherwise you can call the police on 101
  • You can go to a police station and ask to speak to someone in private. You don't have to explain why
  • You can ask a victim support service to report the crime for you. This is called a Third Party Report. It will be anonymous so won't be investigated by the police, but it could help them join up related crimes

What might happen next

After reporting an assault you might be:

  • asked for the clothes you were wearing when you were attacked
  • given a medical examination in private by medical staff at a Sexual Advisory Referral Centre (SARC)
  • interviewed again by a specially trained police officer

How the police will help

The officer in charge of your case will work out what support you might need. That could include:

  • letting you know within one working day what's happening with the suspect - for example, if they're being released on bail
  • asking the public to leave the courtroom if you're giving evidence
  • joining the Victim Contact Scheme if the suspect is sent to prison for 12 months or more

You can see the full list of support you're entitled to in the Victims' Code. This is a government document setting out everything you can expect from organisations like the police and courts.

Historic Sexual Abuse

Truth Project

Truth Project

The Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA) is bringing its Truth Project to Brighton in January 2018. 

This inquiry is investigating how organisations in England and Wales may have failed to protect children from sexual abuse. The Truth Project is part of this inquiry and is an opportunity for any victim and survivor of child sexual abuse who feels that they have been let down by an organisation to share their experience in a supportive and confidential setting.  The experiences of victims and survivors will help shape the Inquiry's reports and research so they can better direct government and organisations on how to improve child protection in organisations and institutions across England and Wales. 

For more information on the Truth project and what is involved, please visit their website.

Help and Support: 

You will be offered support before, during and after you share your experience with the Truth Project with a dedicated support worker. However, this support is time limited. There are local support services that you can self refer to which you can find details of to the right of this page or by putting your postcode into the search bar above.

Reporting: If you haven't reported to the police, you can do so by calling 101, emailing or by filling out a form on their website here. Your report will be taken seriously and you will be provided with support throughout the process.

Who can help me?


To make a counselling referral: 01243 786349
Freephone Helpline: 0808 802 0808
Text Helpline: 07717 989 022