Where can I go for help if I have been raped or sexually assaulted ?
Sexual assault is a terrifying, humiliating and traumatic experience. Many women and men experience difficulties in coming to terms with what has happened and in carrying on with their everyday life afterwards. REACH at the Rhona Cross Centre, Newcastle or the Ellis Fraser Centre, Sunderland can help women and men who have been raped or sexually assaulted when they were 16 years or over. The centres are staffed by people who are experienced in dealing with the effects of rape and sexual assault. They will be happy to help you whether or not you wish to report the assault to the police.
How can I contact the centres?
By telephoning for an appointment, reporting the assault to the police or asking a relative, friend or professional person such as a GP or social worker to contact us on your behalf. If you wish to talk things over first by telephone, staff will be happy to help.
What medical help is available at the centres?
If you have been raped or sexually assaulted, you may want to choose to have a forensic medical examination. You can have this forensic examination whether or not you wish to report the matter to the Police. The primary purpose of this examination is to collect forensic evidence. The examination will be done by an experienced doctor who will be able to advise you about any medical treatment you may need afterwards. If you think you may want the police to investigate the assault, it could help in the investigation if the doctor examines you as soon as possible after the assault and preferably before bathing/washing to help capture any forensic evidence. After the examination, you will be able to shower and change your clothes.
Some people are not sure whether to report the assault to the Police. The aim of having a non police forensic medical examination, is to capture forensic evidence, that may soon be lost, and retain the evidence until you have reached a decision of whether to report to the Police or not.
If you are unsure, you should contact R.E.A.C.H where someone will be available to explain what options are available to you.
What other help will there be?
We have women counsellors who are trained and experienced in helping men and women who have been subjected to an assault. They can offer you support and advice about any difficulties you may be having. You can contact us any time after the assault if you are experiencing difficulties. This is a confidential service and at no time will any pressure be put on you to report the assault to the police.
What would happen if I chose to report the assault to the police?
A specially trained police officer will talk to you and explain the procedure. You can be assured that you will be treated in a sympathetic and caring manner. This contact can be made through the staff at REACH.
The centres are furnished and decorated to provide comfortable surroundings with a waiting room, medical examination room, shower/bathroom and counselling rooms.