If you have, or are experiencing domestic violence or abuse then getting help is perhaps the most important thing you can do.
In an emergency, call 999. If it is not an emergency, you could contact your local police station and discuss your situation with them.
Contact any of the following organisations to get help and advice about domestic abuse:
English National Domestic Violence Helpline
Galop (for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people)
Men’s Advice Line
Rape Crisis (England and Wales)
Scotland’s Domestic Abuse and Forced Marriage Helpline
Scottish Women’s Aid
Wales Domestic Abuse Helpline
Women’s Aid Federation (Northern Ireland)
You can also visit GOV.UK for more help and advice.
Any sexual contact without your consent is sexual assault and is a crime.
Contacting the police will start the process of investigating your attacker. The police officer’s priority is safeguarding you. If you choose to support a police investigation you will be supported every step along the way.
It doesn’t matter how long ago you were assaulted, police still want to hear what happened. If you don’t feel ready to go to the police, Sexual Assault Referral Centres (SARCs) provide medical care and support and can also gather forensic evidence.
You can find your nearest SARC here.
For further information on reporting an offence, getting support, and the police process and more please go to: https://www.police.uk/information-and-advice/reporting-crime/
Support for victims of crime
The Victims' Code
If you've been a victim of crime, you are entitled to certain information and support from criminal justice agencies such as the police and the courts.
The Victims' Code explains what you can expect from criminal justice agencies from the moment you report a crime to what happens after a trial.
The Victims' Code is available at GOV.UK.
National and local support
Victim support organisations can offer valuable help if you have been the victim of a crime. They can help you when you report a crime, when you go to court and after a trial.
Support these organisations can offer includes:
- Emotional support - for example, coping with the after-effects of crime
- Practical help like getting locks changed or help filling in forms for insurance and compensation claims
- Advice on dealing with the police
- Help finding a counsellor
You can contact these groups even if the crime happened a long time ago or you haven't reported it to the police.
Victim support organisations, such as charities, are not covered by the Victims' Code, which focuses on making sure criminal justice agencies – such as the police and the courts – give victims the service they are entitled to.
Support offered by victim support organisations can be very valuable, led by individuals who are trained to help victims of crime. The support can be very specialist, for example those set up especially to help victims of rape or those which exist to support children.
From October 2014, your police and crime commissioner will be responsible for providing local victims' services in your area. More information about the work that they are doing to support victims will be found on their websites.