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Coronavirus (COVID-19): the policing response and what you need to know

Report rape and sexual assault

Being pressured or forced to have sex or engage in sexual activity when you do not want to, is a serious crime. When you report a sexual crime, your complaint will always be treated with sensitivity and consideration.

Rape

Rape is committed when a male forces his penis into the mouth, anus or vagina of another person when that person does not want him to do so.

Sexual assault

Sexual assault is a crime that can be committed by both men and women against men or women.

A crime has been committed if any of the following occurs when you do not want it to:

  • having objects or body parts (excluding the penis) inserted into your vagina or anus
  • being touched in a sexual way which makes you feel uncomfortable or frightened
  • being sent sexual images via email, social media or phone (‘sexting)
  • being forced to watch other people have sex
  • being forced to make or watch pornography

Apart from rape and sexual assault, any unwanted sexual act or activity is a sexual crime. 

This includes but not restricted to:

  • child sexual abuse
  • sexual harassment
  • rape within marriage or relationships
  • forced marriage
  • so-called honour-based violence
  • female genital mutilation
  • trafficking
  • sexual exploitation
  • ritual abuse

Report it

If the rape or sexual assault has occurred recently, you should contact us by dialling 999, to help us deal with it as urgently and effectively as possible.

If you have been the victim of a sexual crime, or if you know of a family member or friend who has, we would prefer to speak to you:

However, if contacting us online is the safest way for you to get in touch, you can fill in the report a crime or incident form.

Help and support

When you report a sexual crime to us, you will be referred to the Bridge Sexual Assault Referral Centre.

The referral may involve them carrying out a forensic medical examination if needed, and they will be able to offer you ongoing emotional and physical support. 

They can also offer support to anyone affected by rape or sexual assault at any stage of their lives.

You may also be referred to the Unity Sexual Health Centre who can offer you a same-day appointment to assist with any of your personal sexual health needs.

These services are available to those who report to the police and those who do not. If you are not sure about whether to report the incident to the police, they can offer you support or advice about what to do and discuss all of your options.

You can find a list of support services for victims of sexual crimes in your local area on the This Is Not an Excuse website.

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