Reporting non-recent offences & childhood abuse

Sexual violence is a horrific experience, whenever it happened. We understand that for a variety of reasons you may have chosen not to talk about it to anyone. You may have been living with it, keeping it private.

It is entirely your decision if you want to report what happened to you – we are here to listen to you. You will be believed.

If you’ve been raped or sexually assaulted, no matter what the circumstances, how long ago it happened, or who was involved, remember that it wasn’t your fault. Please seek help.

How can the police investigate something that happened 10 or 20 years ago?

Police take all reports of rape and sexual assault very seriously. It’s never too late to contact the police.

Some investigations can be complex but specialist officers have experience dealing with cases of sexual violence that happened in the past and have secured hundreds of convictions. But more importantly, they have been able to support victims who have found the courage to speak out.

Speaking out

People who carry out sexual violence may go on to commit more offences. The report you make could be the missing piece in a much larger picture that helps us catch an offender.

Sometimes when one person comes forward about an incident it can encourage others to say the same thing happened to them and seek help. This is often the case when a person has been abused as a child and was not aware that their siblings or friends were also abused by the same person until it is revealed in later life.

Will my report be kept confidential – who will know?

Police treat all reports in the strictest of confidence and will be discreet and sensitive when contacting you with any updates about an investigation.

If the case is heard in court, the law protects you and gives you anonymity for the rest of your life. This means that no information, such as your name, address, where you work, who your family and friends are, can be published by the media or on social media.

What support is available?

There is support available through all stages of the investigation.

Independent Sexual Violence Advisors (ISVAs) can support you all the way through the criminal justice system, with counselling services available through a number of local organisations for anyone who has been affected by these crimes.

Experienced officers are trained to put you at ease, will be open and honest, and do their best to minimise trauma. They will offer you support for as long as you would like, even if you eventually decide not to support the police prosecution.

Report it

If you have been the victim of sexual violence, or if you know of a family member or friend who has, you can contact police by calling 101. Officers will be happy to discuss any concerns you may have, and help you with options available to you. They can also put you in touch with a range of local organisations that can support you.

The Bridge

The Bridge offer medical care and emotional and practical support to anyone who has been raped or sexually assaulted. Available 24/7, 365 days a year. 0117 342 6999 thebridgecanhelp.org.uk

The Green House

The Green House provide free individual counselling to women, men, children and young people who have experienced sexual abuse or rape at any point in their lives. 0117 935 1707 www.the-green-house.org.uk

Visit our help and support page.