Choosing whether to report can be a difficult decision, and it is worth gaining as much information as possible before making this choice.
This page is designed to give you information on the different options available. If after reading this page and our FAQ page you still aren’t sure, we really encourage you to give your local support service or ISVA a call as they will be able to answer any questions you may have and help you to feel comfortable with whatever choice you make.
- Not all crimes reported go to court
- Only about 15% of Survivors report what happened to them
- On average it takes between 18 months and 2 years to complete the reporting process
What can I report?
If you have experienced rape, sexual abuse or assault, grooming, sexual harassment or misogyny either as a child or an adult this can be reported. It doesn’t matter if the crime you want to report was recent or happened years ago you are still able to report these in a number of different ways, listed below:
Who do I report to?
Each regional area has a Sexual Abuse Referral Centre (SARC). In this centre you can usually get advice about reporting, including how to report anonymously. They can also do your forensic examination (should you need one) and your video statement (should you choose to do one).
Reporting anonymously means that you can give the details of what happened and the name of the perpetrator over to the SARC which they will hold on file for 7 years without having to go through the reporting process. Should the perpetrator be named again they can use this anonymous intelligence to support the case.
The SARC has been created to enable Survivors to report what happened to them in a more supportive way. If you are thinking of using your local SARC you can refer yourself for a meeting, in this meeting everything can be explained to you before you make a choice about if you want to report and which method of reporting you would like to do (e.g. anonymous).
The Independent Sexual Violence Advisors can offer support and guidance. They can talk through reporting and support options with you to help you decided the best route for you. If you decide to report the ISVA will support you throughout the entire process, liaising with the police and CPS on your behalf, they will be your advocate and ensure you know what is going on through every step of the investigation. If you decided not to the ISVA can offer emotional and practical support as well as signposting to other local organisations.
There are 2 ways to report to the police:
In an emergency call 999:
If you ring 999 the police will send the nearest unit in a marked police car
In an non emergency call 101:
If you are safe now but want to report to the police this is the number to ring. Usually the police will come out to you in an unmarked car and will often send a specially trained officer who specialises in this type of crime. They will often make an appointment with you and they can either visit you or set up a meeting at your local police station, the police also use the SARC so this may be the venue you meet at rather than your local station.
Please note if you report your crime to a police officer then they are duty bound to investigate it.
I am not sure if it was a crime?
Talking to your local support agency, ISVA team or SARC centre can help you make sense of this; a lot of Survivors feel unsure about what has happened.
What happens when I report to the police?
The police will review your case and when they have collected enough evidence they will send it over to the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) who will decided if there is enough evidence to prosecute. If not they will send it back to the police who will investigate. If the police aren’t able to find further evidence the CPS may decide not to take the crime to court.
I am worried I won’t be believed?
Going through specialist service like the SARC means you will always be believed, but that doesn’t mean that the crime will always go to court.
If the questions you have about reporting haven’t been answered on this page please visit our FAQ page which has more content and should be able to answer any other questions you have.