Rape is a form of sexual violence which can be defined as an unwanted non-consensual penile penetrative act or assault.
Rape victims deserve to be fully protected by the authorities and the police have improved their approach and their after care considerably in recent years. Has a rape occurred? In many cases this is not an immediately obvious question to answer. If you did not give consent for sexual intercourse to take place then it may well be rape. It is an act of aggression and sexual violence and should be reported to the police.
Though it is an ordeal to report the matter, it is necessary and, the sooner it is done, the greater the chance the police will have of finding possibly crucial forensic evidence. The police should have specialist workers available including a specially trained Sexual Offences Liaison Officer. If your assault was domestic violence related, the police will be equally sympathetic.
An alternative would be to go to a Sexual Assault Referral Centre which enables you to have a forensic and a medical with the results stored while you decide whether to report the matter to the police or not. If you do have injuries but decide against taking the matter further, these centres may be a good option as they will enable you to receive treatment for the injuries as well as emergency contraception and checks for STIs.
Counselling may also be an option whether or not you proceed legally. Both the Sexual Assault Referral Centres and Rape Crisis Centres can help in the matters immediately after the incident including of course the important matter of whether it should be reported to the police.
In deciding whether to report the matter a victim must bear in mind possible advantages and disadvantages. It would naturally give you the opportunity to put your side of the story and would be the only way of possibly bringing the perpetrator to justice and would hopefully deter him from trying it again, either with the victim or with someone else.
However, naturally, simply reporting a crime does not mean that the offender will be found guilty. If it does go to court it could get messy and traumatic with your private life raked over in public. Going to the police on a matter such as this sets off a process which, unfortunately, you will have little control over.
SHOULD YOU MAKE A COMPENSATION CLAIM? You may wish to calculate your potential rape victim compensation award to have an understanding of your entitlement. Be aware of strict deadlines for making your claim.
ARE YOU A FOOTBALLER WHO SUFFERED ABUSE? Reports have emerged linking professional clubs to ex-players who were abused by coaching staff. More here on our dedicated football coach and club compensation page
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