If you or someone you know has been raped or sexually assaulted and hasn’t reported the incident to the Police, this could be because, amongst other reasons, fear of
a) not knowing what happens next or who will be there to help
b) not knowing what the investigation will involve
c) fear of retaliation from the offender
YOU DO HAVE CHOICES:
REACH staff can arrange for you to see an experienced male or female police officer (you can choose), who will meet you either at the REACH suite, or at safe location of your choice, where you can discuss your concerns without making an official complaint.
This will allow you to ask questions about what making a complaint means, and find out about how the Police would investigate your complaint.
In addition, and just as important, this will also allow you to gain an understanding of how not only the Police, but the wider criminal justice system can support you throughout and following this process.
If the rape/assault falls within a certain timescale, it may be possible to have a forensic examination, even if you haven’t decided whether to report to the Police at that stage. Please do contact REACH to discuss this and don’t assume it is too late to have the forensic examination. Staff will be able to provide advice.
MAKING A DECISION
We want to ensure that you stay in control of choosing whether to report or not. We believe that you can best make that decision by being fully informed. Therefore listed here are some issues that might help you make your decision.
1. A Full Investigation:
Securing a conviction at court frequently involves having a wide ranging base of evidence. Evidence obtained from your forensic examination, if one was conducted, forms just one part of the investigative process. Many other forms of evidence (for example CCTV and items found at the crime scene) are equally important and can aid in bringing those responsible to justice. Making a complaint to the Police means that evidence from a wide range of sources will be sought to corroborate your account. We fully appreciate that some people who have been sexually assaulted fear that their integrity may be questioned when making such a complaint. This is not the case. Northumbria Police seek to ensure that any prosecution has the best chance possible to succeed, and this is greatly aided by securing as much evidence as possible.
2. Support throughout and following the prosecution process.
In partnership with REACH and the Crown Prosecution Service, the Police are fully committed to ensuring you are given every possible opportunity to make the prosecution process as smooth and simple as possible. Indeed, all criminal justice agencies recognise that victims of serious crimes require a great deal of support.
Specialist staff are available to support you, and should the matter proceed to trial you will be made aware of those special measures which are available to make the giving of evidence as easy as possible.
3. Bringing the offender to justice.
Offences of this nature are serious crimes which clearly have a devastating effect on victims, and it therefore follows that those responsible should pay a penalty for committing such acts.
We know from experience that bringing the person to justice for these offences can make the victim feel empowered. In addition it greatly assists in the prevention of further crimes. Criminal justice partners such as Her Majesty’s Prisons, the Probation Service, and the Police are able to effectively manage the risks that individuals may pose long after the expiration of a custodial sentence.
4. Keeping yourself Safe.
Other than domestic violence related assaults, further attack from an offender is very rare. However, reporting an assault to the Police could help keep you safe from further assaults, as the Police will do all they can to locate the offender, if not already known and identified.
5. Provision of anonymous Information.
If you decide not to make a formal complaint, REACH staff can help you give information anonymously to the Police, which could help identify serial and other offenders.
STILL UNSURE ?
If you are still worried or unsure about reporting to the Police now, then don’t assume that because you haven’t made an early report, that the matter won’t be investigated if you report the matter later – it will still be fully investigated.
Although the passage of time makes the investigation more challenging as certain evidence may no longer be available, the Police will still be committed to ensuring a full and professional investigation follows.
Please do contact us if you would like help, advice or support.