Do you work with the Police?
We are independent of the Police. We are able to offer advice and information about the investigation process and make contact with the Police on your behalf, if you want us to.
How often will I see you?
We offer regular monthly support. However, we are able to tailor our support to meet your individual needs.
How long will you support me for?
We will support you throughout the investigation process. We will also support you at court and after you have been to court.
When can you see me?
We work office hours, so we are available between 9am and 5pm, Monday to Friday.
Where can you see me?
We have offices in Derby, Alfreton and Buxton. We can also arrange appointments in other professional settings which may be closer to you, for example: your Doctors surgery and Children Centres.
Will I have to go court?
After the Police investigation the CPS will make a decision based on the evidence, about whether or not the perpetrator can be charged. After the decision to charge and if the case goes to court, you may need to attend court to give evidence.
Will I have to face my perpetrator?
No. If your case goes to court, special measures can be applied for so that you won’t see your perpetrator.
Will you still support me if there’s no investigation?
We offer support to anyone who has experienced sexual violence. We can provide information about the reporting process and attending court. We can also help you access additional support, for example therapy/counselling.
How long does the investigation last? Will you support me all the way through?
Investigations can last as long as two years, and we will support you throughout this process.
Why do I feel guilty about having reported the perpetrator?
Most victims have been abused by someone they know, for instance an ex-partner. You may remember when there were good times in the relationship and they should have been someone you could trust. The abuse of this trust can cause some really difficult feelings, including feelings of guilt.
Will I have to pay for a solicitor to represent me in court?
No, you don’t have to pay for legal advice. The Crown Prosecution Service prosecutes the defendant and will provide a prosecution barrister for free. You can arrange to meet the barrister before court and you will also meet him/her before you go into court to give your evidence.
Will my name be in the papers if I go to court?
No. As a victim of sexual violence, you have an automatic right to lifelong anonymity unless you waive that anonymity. Your name cannot be reported in the media and any other identifying information cannot be given either. If you were married for instance, the media (after a court case resulting in a guilty verdict) can only report that the defendant was found guilty of sexual offences against a female over the age of 18.
What can I do to keep myself as well as possible during the investigation?
This is bound to be a difficult time for you so make the most of the support around you. This could be your ISVA, a family member or friend. Try and focus on the day rather than worry about the future. You can talk about your mental health with your ISVA who can suggest ways to keep you well. Many survivors of sexual violence find that it helps to have a routine around working, eating, sleeping and exercising. If you find that you are experiencing new or worsening mental or physical health symptoms, please speak to your GP. Please also check our website or social media for tips around self care.
Can I have counselling whilst waiting for the investigation to conclude?
Yes, you can have pre-trial therapy and could refer yourself for SV2 therapy or contact Trent PTS. The Police may eventually request records to be disclosed to them with your permission. You would have the opportunity to read through your SV2 records before they are disclosed. No potential evidence would be discussed with the therapist – it is more about supporting you through your current difficulties.
How can I report sexual violence and is there a time limit?
There is no time limit for reporting sexual violence – it can be done straight away or weeks/years later. You can do this by phoning the non-emergency Police number 101, if you are no longer in imminent danger. You can also make an anonymous report to SV2. This would be passed to the Police without any details that would identify you. Victims sometimes choose this option if they would like the Police to add the perpetrator details to their Police intelligence without going ahead with an investigation. If you report within 7 days (depending on the type of sexual assault) you may be asked to undergo a forensic medical examination to preserve any DNA. If you don’t want the Police to be involved or haven’t made up your mind you can self-refer to SV2 for this. The samples would be stored for 2 years in case you eventually wanted to report to the Police.
Is the ISVA service confidential?
The ISVA service is confidential and any information would only be shared with your consent. You may, for instance, agree that the ISVA can ask for and receive updates from the Police officer investigating your case. However, if the ISVA feels that either you or someone you tell us about is at risk, we would need to safeguard you or the other person, either by phoning your GP or Social Care, depending on the circumstances. The ISVA would discuss this with you.
My perpetrator didn’t use physical violence. Is it still rape?
The legal definition for sexual violence is that the victim gave no consent for the sexual activity that took place. Most rapes don’t result in physical injuries as victims go into a ‘flop or freeze’ state which means they cannot fight back. If a victim is not able to give consent to sexual activity or there was no consent, then any sexual activity is an assault. You can also withdraw consent after the sexual activity has started and the other person has to stop. It’s also a sexual assault if someone has been coerced into sexual activity, the perpetrator making threats for instance.
The Police has to prove that you didn’t give consent and that the perpetrator knew you hadn’t given consent.
I’m worried about sexually transmitted diseases. Where can I go?
If you’ve had a forensic medical examination, SV2 will arrange an appointment for a check-up at a clinic near you. If you want to arrange a check-up yourself, please go to https://www.yoursexualhealthmatters.org.uk/ where you can book an appointment or find out about your nearest clinic. You can also send off for a testing kit which involves taking some swabs yourself and a finger prick blood test. The kit comes in a discreet package and can be sent back with a bar code and no other identifying details.
Do I have to tell my ISVA what happened to me?
The ISVA does not need to know any details about what happened to you. This is information you have given to the Police if you decided to report. ISVAs don’t discuss potential evidence with their clients as this could be interpreted in court as having coached witnesses about what to say. The ISVA support is about giving you information about the Police and court processes, emotional support (which is not counselling) and signposting to other services if necessary.
What will happen next if I do report to the police?
As well as collecting any physical evidence, depending on the type of assault and how recently it happened, the police will also ask if you would like to give a statement. This is usually done at a police premises and recorded by video – if the case gets to court it could be played to the jury. You will be asked a lot of detailed questions about yourself, the person who assaulted you and exactly what happened. The officer interviewing you may not be the police officer who conducts the investigation, but they should let you know who that person is going to be and discuss with you how you would like to be contacted when there are updates. The police may also ask for your permission to contact agencies and people that you have talked to about what happened to you to take further statements or obtain records. They may also ask to collect evidence from your phone and / or computer.
Can I have somebody with me in the interview?
The interview can be very upsetting and the police should offer you support. If you might struggle to understand what the police are asking, they can arrange for an interpreter or an intermediary to support you. You will not be able to have anybody else in the interview room with you but an ISVA or friend/family could wait and offer you support afterwards or if you need a break.
What if I can’t remember everything that happened to me?
It’s normal not to be able to remember a sexual assault in clear detail, particularly if it happened a long time ago or there were lots of incidents. It is worth writing down anything you do have memories of, including dates etc, before reporting to the police but don’t worry if you don’t know the answers to all of the questions you are asked. If you remember something else after your interview, you can ask to make an additional statement later.
Will my case go to court?
It is very difficult to know when you report to the police whether this will end up in court. The police have to gather a lot of evidence and they and the Crown Prosecution Service (these are the lawyers who would represent the case at court) have to be sure that there is a reasonable chance of convincing a jury. There are a lot of reasons this threshold might not be met and a decision might be taken, either by the police or the CPS, to NFA – no further action. This decision should be explained to you in detail, and you should have an opportunity to ask for it to be independently reviewed.
Can my ISVA be with me in court?
Yes – your ISVA can support you at court. They can wait with you prior to giving evidence and can be with you in the courtroom when you are called. They cannot speak to the court or with you while you are giving your evidence.