13 Resources For Survivors Of Sexual Assault In The UK
Over the last week people have been using social media to share accounts of sexual assault and harassment allegedly perpetrated by celebrities. Discussions of this kind can bring up past trauma for those who have their own experiences. It’s a difficult feeling, reading someone else's story back while knowing you’ve been through something very similar. So if you're finding recent conversations tough for any reason, here are 13 resources for sexual assault survivors in the UK.
According to the Office for National Statistics, 20 percent of women and four percent of men in the UK have experienced some type of sexual assault. This equates to an estimated 3.4 million women survivors and 631,000 men survivors. Five in six survivors (83 percent of those surveyed) did not report their experiences to the police.
Speaking about experiences of assault or harassment can be incredibly difficult for a variety of different reasons. But whether or not you decide to share your experiences with others, there are still a variety of ways in which you can access support to suit you and your circumstances. Here are 13 UK-specific charities, networks, helplines, communities, and therapy services where you can find help when you need it.
1. For Support Wherever You Are In The UK
The Survivors Trust is a charity which provides support for people who have gone through sexual assault, abuse, or rape. It offers therapy and advice as well as a hotline to for survivors working through trauma.
2. For Support For Women & Girls
Women’s Aid is a leading charity in the UK, working with survivors of assault and abuse. They empower people with the advice and resources to understand that what they’ve been through isn’t their fault and to help get them to a place of safety. Their website also has online support resources if you’re not ready to speak to someone.
3. For Help Finding Rape Crisis Centres Near You
Rape Crisis has a very useful tool on their website which allows you to put in your postcode and find the closest centres and clinics near you. The organisation raises awareness and understanding of sexual violence in all its forms and points survivors in the direction of help.
4. For Working Through Trauma From Past Relationships
Sexual assault can have a long lasting impact on your life and relationships. Relate is a relationship counselling service which can help you work through trauma in your past relationships in order to start afresh.
5. For Disabled Survivors
Scope is a leading disability charity in the UK. It can assist you with anything from finding appropriate housing and care to work and employment. However, Scope also has resources dedicated to those who have experienced assault or abuse. Their website has a free helpline manned by advisors who can provide practical and emotional support.
6. For Mental Health Specific Support
Sexual assault can leave you feeling incredibly anxious, ashamed, and alone. It’s little surprise that your mental health can take a massive hit because of it. Mind is a mental health charity which shares resources, has an infoline, and a legal line to help people who are struggling.
7. For An Emotional Support Helpline
Supportline offers confidential emotional support to people who have experienced assault or abuse. Their resources offer practical advice as to what to do after you’ve been assaulted and unpack some of the things you may be feeling.
8. For LGBTQ+ Survivors
Switchboard is a support line for LGBTQ+ people with a helpline, online chat service, and evening email service for those in need. Their volunteers are also LGBTQ+ and every conversation is confidential. They are a listening ear and may be able to point you to further support if you need it.
9. For Survivors Of Childhood Abuse
The National Association for People Abused in Childhood supports people who faced physical, sexual, or emotional abuse or neglect as they were growing up. They provide direct support for survivors ensuring they have a safe space to talk.
10. For Support In A Variety Of Different Formats
Survivors Network is the Rape Crisis Centre for Sussex, based in Brighton. Their website has audio and video resources, as well as self care advice and resources on what legal action looks like in some cases after an assault. They aim to raise awareness for sexual violence, educate, challenge abuse, change behaviour, and attitudes.
11. For Accessing NHS Support Facilities In Your Area
The NHS website also has a search tool for sexual assault support centres near you. If you enter your postcode you will be able to search for the support facilities closest to you, as well as contact them ahead of time.
12. For Support If You're Living With Your Abuser
Refuge runs a free 24-hour Domestic Abuse Helpline. Lockdown during COVID-19 has posed a serious risk for people who are living with their abuser. If you need practical or emotional support on what to do if you’re living with the person who assaulted you, you can either phone the helpline free of charge or use the resources on Refuge’s website.
13. For Survivors In London
The Women and Girls Network is run by women for women who have suffered any form of violence or abuse. Based in London, it’s their aim to create safe, non-judgmental and non-directive spaces for people to unpack their experiences. They also run a helpline so you can access advice at home.