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ISVA & Advocacy

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People have different choices when it comes to reporting their experiences to the police, and your decision is entirely up to you. We can provide you with information about what to anticipate if you decide to do so.

What is an ISVA?

How can a ISVA help me?

An ISVA, or Independent Sexual Violence Advocate, plays a crucial role in supporting survivors of rape and sexual abuse within the context of a support service charity. ISVAs are highly trained professionals who offer assistance and advocacy to survivors as they navigate the often complex and challenging process of reporting and recovering from sexual violence

  • Emotional Support

  • Information and Education

  • Crisis Intervention

  • Legal Support

  • Medical Support

  • Safety Planning

  • Advocacy

  • Referrals

  • Empowerment and Recovery

  • Continued Support

Should I report to the Police?

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The decision of whether or not to involve the police should always be your own. You can still access our services if you choose not to report to the police.
We are here for you.

  • No one should ever pressure you into speaking to the police, as many individuals choose not to do so for various valid reasons.

  • However, if you do decide to report, it can be beneficial to reach out for guidance on your rights and available options.

  • At RSASS, we have dedicated professionals known as advocates or ISVAs who can provide you with information and support throughout the process.

  • Additional information is also available below.

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Seeking support from RSASS

At RSASS, we have many dedicated professionals known as advocates or Independent Sexual Violence Advocates (ISVAs).

These individuals are here to offer unbiased guidance on the process of reporting to the police.


They can provide you with valuable information regarding your rights, available options, and what you can anticipate throughout the process.

Whether you decide to report to the police or are uncertain about it, our advocates are here to assist you.


They can provide support when you choose to make a report and offer ongoing assistance as you navigate the subsequent steps.

You might have concerns that not making a report could allow the perpetrator to harm someone else.


However, it's crucial to remember that the blame for sexual violence always rests with the perpetrator.

Regardless of the choice you make, it is never your responsibility if they harm someone else.

If you wish to discuss your available options, please don't hesitate to reach out to us.

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Reporting to the Police

If you need to report an incident to the police, please contact 101. In emergencies or if you're in danger, dial 999.

You can also visit your local police station in person. We can also arrange for a police officer to talk to you in our offices.

Recent Incidents

If you've experienced a rape or sexual assault within the past week, it's essential for your safety and potential medical assistance that you contact the police promptly.

Forensic evidence collected in the initial stages may aid the investigation.

During this time, please avoid:

  • Eating or drinking.

  • Smoking.

  • Washing yourself.

  • Brushing or combing your hair.

  • Brushing your teeth.

  • Changing your clothes.

  • Using the toilet. If necessary, use a clean container.

However, if you've already done one or more of these things, don't worry; you can still make a report.

The police may request an early evidence kit, which could involve providing a urine sample or a mouth swab. Afterward, you'll be allowed to have a drink and use the toilet.

You might also be asked if you want to undergo a forensic medical examination, usually conducted at a Sexual Assault Referral Centre (SARC).

Not ready to report immediately?

If you're not ready to report to the police yet or are still unsure, you can visit a SARC without first contacting the police.


SARCs can store any collected forensic evidence, which may be used if you decide to report to the police later on.

Past Incidents

There's no time limit for reporting to the police. Even if the incident occurred a long time ago, you can still contact the police if you choose to do so.

If the incident happened more than a week ago, you won't need to visit a SARC for a forensic medical examination.

Your personal account of what happened is also considered evidence, and the police should investigate your report, regardless of when it occurred.

What happens after reporting?

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The police will take an initial account without asking detailed questions about the incident, gathering enough information to begin an investigation.



Whenever possible, a specialist police officer trained in sexual offences may be assigned to your case.


The police will request an official statement, often recorded on video for potential use in court. This process takes place in private, and you can choose whether to speak to male or female officers. You can also have someone from RSASS with you for support.


The police will then proceed with their investigation, which includes examining evidence, interviewing witnesses, and potentially arresting the perpetrator.

Will my case go to court?

Reporting an incident to the police doesn't guarantee that the perpetrator will face court and receive a prison sentence.

Once the police conclude their investigation, the police and the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) may decide that there's enough evidence and that it's in the public interest to charge the suspect, leading to a court case.

However, this outcome isn't certain for every case. If there's insufficient evidence or it isn't deemed in the public interest, the police and CPS may not press charges, resulting in the case being closed or dropped before reaching court. In such instances, the suspect won't face a criminal conviction.


For impartial information about the process and potential outcomes, as well as ongoing support, please contact us.

How long does it take?

The process from initially contacting the police to reaching a final decision can be lengthy, sometimes taking two years or more.

We understand that this is a difficult decision to make. If you reach out to one of our helplines, we are here to provide support.

We will never judge you or tell you what to do. You can take each step at your own pace.

Considering reporting to the Police?

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