The most important thing to remember is that it was not your fault and you are not to blame for what happened.
If it happened very recently, try to look after your physical needs first:
- Be somewhere that feels safe. If you don’t feel safe, you can call 999 (or 112 from a mobile) and ask for the police.
- Wrap up in something warm and have a hot drink, which will help if you are in shock.
- Call a friend or someone you trust to come and be with you. If you don’t feel like talking to someone you know, you can call our helpline or the National Rape Crisis line on 0808 802 9999 (open between 12 noon – 2.30pm and 7 – 9.30pm any day of the year and also between 3 – 5.30pm on weekdays).
- Get checked medically. If you have serious injuries, such as bleeding (especially from your vagina) or severe bruising you can call 999 and ask for an ambulance, or go to A&E for immediate treatment.
- You don’t have to tell anyone what happened if you don’t want to, but bear in mind that the staff might not be able to treat you as effectively if they don’t know what caused your injuries.
- They shouldn’t contact the police about what has happened to you unless you ask them to.
- If you feel your injuries are less severe, you can see your doctor instead, but they may refer you to A&E if they think that certain treatment like stitches are needed.
You don’t need to decide now whether you want to report to the police or not. If you think you might want to report later, you can go to your nearest Sexual Assault Referral Centre (SARC) for a forensic medical examination within seven days of the assault. They will store the physical evidence for you for up to seven years and also take an initial account, if you want to give one. This can be passed on to the police at a later date if you choose. The SARC in Cambridgeshire is The Elms at Hinchingbrooke Hospital in Huntingdon.
If you want some more information about reporting, you can read our guidance here.