How we support victims of sexual assault and rape

My name is Sadia and I am one of the crisis workers for The OASIS @ Rivergate – Sexual Assault Referral Centre.

I have a varied and broad range of experience working in different fields both in the public and private sector. My main area of expertise is business administration and customer services along with significant experience in support and crisis work in the field of sexual violence.

One thing I have noticed as crisis worker is that sexual assault/rape is not an easy subject to talk about. Sexual assaults can happen to anyone at any time. You can be sexually assaulted by a partner, trusted friend, close relative or complete stranger. There’s no such thing as a “typical” sexual assault.

As a crisis worker we support clients (adults and children) who attend the centre following sexual assault or rape. We here at the SARC also provide telephone support and guidance for those who have experienced sexual assault but do not wish to attend the centre.

Clients can choose to report their experience to the police or either self-refer, it is entirely their choice. Support is available through our centre and support line should the decision not to attend the centre be made. This is an individual decision that can only be made by the client who is in control of this process.

The self-referral process has been designed so that clients can have access to the SARC service without having to involve the police. We are able to gather and store forensic evidence including clothing worn at the time of the incident in a secure facility. This gives clients the opportunity to take time to think and to receive on-going emotional support from The OASIS @ Rivergate before making the decision of whether or not to inform the police. The forensic evidence can be stored for several years giving the client the time to make their decision.

Regardless of the option chosen, if sexual assault/rape has occurred in the last seven days as a crisis worker we will offer you the opportunity to have a medical examination, at the SARC in comfortable surroundings. This may include making an accurate record of any injuries sustained and collecting any DNA evidence that may be present. The importance of the examination is that it could possibly provide essential evidence for a police investigation which could subsequently go to court.

Everyone attending The OASIS @ Rivergate you will be treated with dignity, respect, compassion and will be fully supported throughout their visit.

Our crisis & information line is open 24 hours a day and can help you to find out what your options are. We want all clients to know that what has happened was not their fault and there is support for you.

This service is open during normal office hours Monday to Friday; however out of normal office hours the service is covered by the on-call crisis worker so is accessible 24/7.

Sadia

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