Sexual Assault or Rape
Supporting a survivor of sexual assault or rape can be daunting especially when it is someone close to you and you are worried about saying or doing "the wrong thing." You don't have to be an expert to support someone but there are some really simply things you can do that will help.
- Are they in immediate danger? If you are in immediate danger or seriously injured, you can contact the emergency services on 999 (or 112 from a mobile phone).
- Find a safe space. If an incident has just happened try and find somewhere they feel safe. If this isn't possible and they are scared or fearful you can suggest they call security on 0161 306 9966.
- The Manchester Safe Taxi Scheme. This scheme has been set up so that students and staff can get home safely - if you don't have any cash, you can pay the fare the next day.
- Take care of yourself. Hearing about sexual violence can be difficult; particularly when it has happened to someone you care about. It is important that while you are supporting someone you are also taking care of your own physical and mental health.
- Text Support. If you feel you need to talk to someone immediately you can contact Shout, a free 24/7 text service for anyone struggling to cope. TEXT Shout to 85258.
- Listen. If someone discloses an experience of assault or rape to you, just listening to what they tell with no judgment, compassion and empathy can be incredibly helpful. Just taking the time to listen to someone and talk about what has happened can help. These six active listening tips might help you support them.
- Believe. Rather than asking a lot of questions, just let them know that you believe them and will support them as best as you can. Try not to skip ahead to what to do practically without first validating what you have heard and listening to what they have to say.
- Reassure. Remind them that no one, regardless of relationship or status, has the right to hurt them and that no matter what, it is not their fault that this occurred.
- Give Options. Somebody who has experienced sexual assault or rape may feel they have had power and control taken away from them. This means the most important thing is to respond in a way that increases their choice over what happens next. You can simply ask them what they need or want. They might not make the same decision you would; however, only they can decide what is best for them. You can help them explore options but avoid telling them what they should do.
- Respect. They might not want to report the assault to the police or the University. There are a lot of reasons why someone may choose not to report, only they can decide what is best for them.
- Understanding Trauma. NHS Lanarkshire EVA Services have produced this animation to help people understand the effects of abuse and survivors responses to trauma.
- At the University. To speak confidentially to an advisor you can make a report online. A member of the team will then get in touch to discuss your options with you and will be able to offer appropriate practical and emotional support tailored to your circumstances.
- Independent Sexual Violence Advisors (ISVAs). ISVAs work with people who have experienced sexual violence to get them access to the services they need. They provide impartial advice on all the options available such as reporting to police, the criminal justice process, accessing sexual assault referral centres (SARCs), seeking support from specialist sexual violence organisations and other services.
- St Mary's Sexual Assault Referral Centre Manchester. They can put you in touch with an ISVA and provide expert and comprehensive support in the aftermath of sexual assault or rape. There is no need to report to the police to be able to access St Marys. They can arrange tailored support for your physical, sexual and psychological health care needs as well as information, advice and support if you wish to report to the police.
- Sexual Assault Referral Centre (SARC).If you are not currently based in Manchester, you can find your local Sexual Assault Referral Centre (SARC) by searching the NHS website.
- Manchester Rape Crisis (MRC) is a confidential support service run by women for women and girls who have been raped or sexually abused. They will listen, without judgement and with respect, to what you have to say. Their staff are fully trained and experienced to hear and respond with knowledge and caring.
- Survivors Manchester offers a range of services for men who have experienced sexual violence at any point in their lives. They are a survivor-led/survivor-run voluntary organisation that aims to create and facilitate a safe space for male survivors to work through personal and sometimes painful issues.
- Galop is an LGBT+ anti-violence charity who support people who have experienced hate crime, sexual violence or domestic abuse. They also support lesbian, gay, bi, trans and queer people who have had problems with the police or have questions about the criminal justice system. The LGBT+ Hate Crime Helpline is open Monday to Friday, 10am-4pm, and can be reached on 020 7704 2040 or by emailing HateCrime@galop.org.uk.
- The National Stalking Helpline offers information and guidance to anybody in the UK who is currently or has previously been affected by harassment or stalking through a freephone number and email facility.
- Reporting to the police. Your friend or loved one will have the option of reporting what has happened to them to the police. To report you can call the police on 101, visit your local police station or report it confidentially online. If they are thinking about this option, rape crisis provides further information on what would happen.
- Reporting to the University. All students and staff can use this platform to request support from an advisor, who will be able to provide you with what options are available for the person you are supporting. This is confidential and does not instigate any kind of formal complaint or appeals process. Should they wish to make a formal complaint you will be given the information on how to do so from the advisor assigned to you.
Mental Health and Wellbeing
- Take care of yourself. It’s important that you take care of yourself.
- Survivors Manchester. Provide information and advice for partners, friends and family members of men who have experienced sexual assault.
- Manchester Rape Crisis. Provide information and advice for partners, friends and family members of men who have experienced sexual assault or rape.
- Counselling Service. There are lots of self-help resources and information available on taking care of yourself on the University's Counselling Service pages.
- Togetherall. It is a safe space online to get things off your chest, have conversations get creative and learn how to manage your mental health and wellbeing.
- Coping after Sexual Violence. Rape Crisis Scotland has produced this guide on coping after sexual violence.
- Understanding Abuse. Survivors Manchester provide information on understanding abuse and cover both physical and mental health.