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If what you have experienced happened to you outside of the government restrictions (for example you were at a house party that shouldn’t have been taking place due to the rules on social distancing, or someone outside of your household came to visit you or you visited them) you can still get help and you will not get into trouble with the police or receive a fine for breaching the regulations. That’s something which has been agreed by Devon and Cornwall Police and the Crown Prosecution Service. 

 

Being forced to engage in any kind of sexual activity where you don't consent is never OK.  If you are forced to have sex and don't want to this is classed as rape whether you are married, in a relationship or not.  Although there are occasions where it feels too difficult or  awkward to say something, say stop.  If they don't stop they are committing an offence - whoever 'they' are.  This short animation demonstrates the concept of consent more clearly

Deciding what to do if you have been raped or subjected to sexual assault is something that only you can do.  But there are people you can speak to who can support you while you make that decision, provide you with options and help you get any wider help that you might need.  The Sexual Assault Referral Centre (SARC) provides medical, forensic and emotional support.  You don't have to decide to report the incident to the police immediately if you don't want to, but the earlier forensic samples are taken and stored, the better evidence they will provide if you do decide to report it later. Samples taken within 7 days of an incident are most reliable. 

The advice line 0300 303 4626 is open 24/7 and the team will answer your questions and will guide you through the process of taking samples for forensic evidence and dealing with any medical implications that may arise as a result of the incident, for example injuries, emergency contraception or sexually acquired infections.  The team support everyone of any age, gender or sexual orientation and the centre is still seeing people face to face where it is safe to do so.  If someone has, or believes they have, symptoms of COVID-19, alternative arrangements are in place and support will still be given to you. 

The police always take reports of rape or sexual abuse seriously and will provide support, information and advice on your options.  You may want to talk to the police about your experience, but if you don’t you can still access help and support. You can find out more at www.victimcaredevonandcornwall.org.uk/Help-and-Support, and select ‘Sexual Violence’

The impact of sexual abuse or rape on your emotional wellbeing can last a long time.  These are traumatic events that can affect your everyday life and how you respond to certain situations.  Everyone's experience is different and everyone deals with things in a different way.  Devon Rape Crisis and Sexual Assault Service provides advice and support for anyone over the age of 13, no matter how long ago your experience happened.  They have a helpline operating Mon to Fri 9.00 am to 12 noon or email enquiries will be responded to asap.  Their website also has a range of really useful self-help guides. 

National services, including those supporting men specifically or anyone who experienced sexual abuse as a child, can be found in our Directory. 

You might not know what help and support you want right now, but contacting services and having an initial conversation might give you some options.  If you'd prefer to remain anonymous, services will respect your wishes.