Deciding to report an assault

Talking about an assault can be difficult. It's completely up to you whether you decide to report it to the police. If you do, they will do everything they can to make sure you get the right care and support. 

Whatever you decide, there are specialist organisations that can help.

Your local support team can find details of the services available to you. 

You can also visit The Survivors Trust and Rape Crisis England and Wales for details of charities that can provide you with specialist help in your region.

How to tell the police

The sooner you report an assault, the better chance the police have of collecting evidence.

  • If you're in danger, call 999. Otherwise you can call the police on 101
  • You can go to a police station and ask to speak to someone in private. You don't have to explain why
  • You can ask a victim support service to report the crime for you. This is called a Third Party Report. It will be anonymous so won't be investigated by the police, but it could help them join up related crimes

What might happen next

After reporting an assault you might be:

  • asked for the clothes you were wearing when you were attacked
  • given a medical examination in private by medical staff at a Sexual Advisory Referral Centre (SARC)
  • interviewed again by a specially trained police officer

How the police will help

The officer in charge of your case will work out what support you might need. That could include:

  • letting you know within 1 working day what's happening with the suspect, eg if they're being released on bail
  • asking the public to leave the courtroom if you're giving evidence
  • joining the Victim Contact Scheme if the suspect is sent to prison for 12 months or more

You can see the full list of support you're entitled to in the Victims' Code. This is a government document setting out everything you can expect from organisations like the police and courts.