Rape Crisis Scotland helpline: 08088 01 03 02

Recent Rape or Sexual Assault

We offer support as soon as possible to those who have experienced a recent or attempted rape or sexual assault (within the last 3 months). You can contact us by calling Rape Crisis Scotland’s helpline on 08088 010302 (freephone, 6pm – midnight every day) or by emailing our support service at support@ercc.scot.

If you’ve just been raped or sexually assaulted it is important to consider the possibilities of injury, pregnancy or sexually transmitted infections (STI), and whether or not you want to go the police. The amount of support and help you receive at this time can help you to overcome the initial shock and disruption to your life.

Your feelings

You may be in shock. This can show itself in many different ways. Everyone reacts and feels differently. You may feel numb, be shaking, laughing hysterically or being physically sick. You might continue with your daily routine as usual. Your feelings may keep changing over time, and whatever you are feeling is a ‘normal’ response to what has happened. You may feel it was your fault. It wasn’t. What happened to you should not have happened. Try to be patient and kind to yourself. Remember you are not responsible for anyone else’s feelings.

Physical injuries

If you have any physical injuries you should consider getting them treated by your doctor or local Accident and Emergency Department. You may need medical attention, especially if you are bleeding or in pain. If you feel worried or nervous it may help to take a friend for support. Some women find it helpful to have all their questions written down. Remember, no-one has the right to make you go through anything you don’t feel you are able to, and you don’t have to tell the doctor about the assault if you don’t want to.

Pregnancy

If there ‘s a possibility of pregnancy you may want to take the emergency contraceptive pill, ‘Levonelle’ or (effective for up to 72 hrs after, most effective up to 12 hrs) or ‘EllaOne’, which can be taken with 5 days. Most pharmacies in Lothian offer ‘Levonelle’ free of charge to anyone aged 13 or over. If you are not registered with a GP you may have to pay £25 for it. You can also have a coil fitted (effective for up to 5 days after). If this course of action is right for you, go to Chalmers Sexual Health Clinic or GP.

You may want to take a pregnancy test. You can ask your GP or Chalmers Sexual Health Clinic (0131 536 1070) to do a pregnancy test, or you can buy a home pregnancy-testing kit for around £6, which is accurate 2-3 weeks following conception. They are available from any chemist and have clear instructions.

If you know that you are pregnant, you may want to talk to someone about what to do next. If you are comfortable talking to your GP s/he will go through the options with you, or you may prefer to talk to one of our support workers first. It’s important that you know about all the options available and make the right decision for yourself. You might decide you want an abortion or that you want to continue with the pregnancy. It’s your life, and nobody should try to pressure you into any decision. Access the support you need to make the decision that feels right for you.

Sexually transmitted infections

If you’re worried that you may have caught a STI it is a good idea to be tested. If you do have an STI, treatment can prevent you from becoming more seriously ill later on. Some infections don’t display symptoms right away; only tests show them up. You can go to a specialist clinic Chalmers Sexual Health Clinic) to have tests done. They offer a wide range of family planning and GUM services in one location at: 2A Chalmers Street, Edinburgh. They run a first come first seen drop-in clinic, Mon–Fri from 8.30-10am and they run a rape and sexual assault clinic on Wednesday afternoons by appointment only.

If you need advice you can them us on 0131 536 1070 and select ‘option 2 – Medical Advice’. You will speak to a nurse who will either give you the advice you need, or make an appointment for you at the most appropriate clinic. If you have an urgent problem they will see you the same day. Everything will be confidential, and you do not have to tell them that you have been assaulted. You or you doctor can make an appointment and you don’t have to give your own name. You can take a friend with you for support.

Archway – Sexual Assault Referral Centre
If you are unsure about whether you want report to the police but would like to have the option to report in the future you can travel to the Archway Sexual Assault Referral Centre in Glasgow for a forensic medical examination by a specialist female doctor/nurse. They’ll take forensic evidence and check for STIs. Archway is for anyone who has been raped or sexually assaulted in the last 7 days aged 13 and over. If you are over the age of 16, you do not need to report to the police unless you want to. They are based at 6 Sandyford Place, Glasgow G3 7NB and you can contact them on 0141 211 8175.

Reporting a recent rape or sexual assault to the police

It’s your decision whether you want to report what has happened to you to the police or not. You can report to your local police station (you can ask to speak to a female officer), or you can phone Crimnestoppers on 0800 555 111.

If you are considering reporting a rape or sexual assault which has just happened, the more evidence you preserve the greater the chance of conviction:

  • Ring the police as soon as you are able to – if you are in any danger ring 999
  • Try not shower or bathe – even though this may be your first instinct
  • Try not to clean your teeth
  • If possible ring someone you trust, and see if they can be with you
  • Do not change your clothes. If you do, put everything you were wearing into a plastic bag and keep it somewhere safe
  • Avoid eating or drinking, especially alcohol
  • Don’t comb your hair
  • Try to avoid going to the toilet until you have been examined. If you do need to go to the toilet, keep the tissues you use and put them in a plastic bag
  • If the rapist used a condom don’t get rid of it

You can still report at a later time if you choose to and have not done any of the above.

If you report to the police, they will take a brief statement and notify CID. A CID Detective Sergeant will take charge of the investigation. All interviews with you should be by a police officer, who is specially trained to deal with sexual assault cases. They will take a detailed statement, which will be passed on to CID, and CID will interview the accused. They may also arrange for a forensic examination in a specialist unit. If the police think that there is unlikely to be any forensic evidence, you may not need to go for a forensic examination.

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