Sexual assault can take many forms but refers to any unwanted sexual acts or activities, including but not limited to: rape, sexual abuse, sexual harassment, receiving sexual images and sexual exploitation.
Sexual assault can be committed by strangers or by someone you know, and can occur in a dating relationship or marriage. It can be experienced by people of any gender.
A person must give consent to participate in sexual activities and they must have the freedom and the ability to make that choice. During the course of the activity consent can be withdrawn at any time.
The legal implications of not obtaining clear, coherent consent before sex can be serious. Our ability to give consent can be reduced by factors such as drinking alcohol and/or taking drugs. Everybody has a responsibility to ensure their partner is free to, and has the capacity to, give consent.
Are you or your partner free to give consent?
Are you or your partner able to consent?
- Someone who is drunk or high on drugs may be unable to consent
- Someone who is unconscious, asleep or unable to communicate cannot give consent
- Someone who has been threatened, blackmailed or pressured is not free to consent
- Silence is not consent
- Previous consent does not grant subsequent consent.
If you, or someone you know has been sexually assaulted, please find below guidance to help you make an informed decision. Below is information about the options and support that is available.
The decision to report the incident to the police belongs to the person who has experienced the assault/incident. If you or your friend have been sexually assaulted you will not be pressured into contacting the Police. You will not be judged or blamed for your decision.
- Go to a place where you feel safe: If you or others are in immediate danger, call 999 (police), if you are on campus you can also call Security on 01603 592222.
- Call someone you trust to be with you and support you. This could be a friend or any of the support services listed below.
If you are receiving unwanted sexual images, inappropriate comments, unwelcome attention or sexual text messages (Sexting), support is available on campus or via external agencies. It is the reporter’s decision if they wish to report these incidents to the police. However, whether you decide to do this or not, you can access support, advice and information in a confidential and safe environment by contacting any of the support services below.
Remember it’s never your fault
Deciding What To Do Next
The decision is yours. Whatever you decide, you will be supported in your decision.
You have options for support and on reporting the incident.
Whether you want to report it to the University and/or the police or not, remember it is your decision what you want to do with any report or disclosure you make.
> Get support and guidance within and outside the University
> Report an Incident to the University
> Report an Incident to the Police
> Delay your Report to the Police
> Not Reporting to the Police
You can seek support from a number of sources at any time after the incident, even years later. It is ever too late to seek support. Any decisions will be yours and you will be respected and supported in your decision. You will not be judged and you will not be blamed.
The Student Support Service
The Student Support Service have trained advisers that can provide, confidential advice and support. They will help support you so you can make the decision that is right for you.
The quickest way to be meet with an adviser is to complete the Report In form online.
Reporting it to the University, does not mean it will be investigated. It does mean you will get support and guidance. However, if you decide you want the incident investigated, the Student Support Adviser can talk you through your options. The Adviser will let you know about the Harbour Centre for further support.
If you do not want support, you can remain anonymous and do not have to give your name and details. Reporting anonymous can help the University deal with serial offenders, and to collect data that more accurately reflects what is happening.
The Student Support Service can also initiate an internal investigation and disciplinary procedure if you decide you want action taken against your perpetrator within the University.
Harbour Centre - Sexual Assault Referral Centre (SARC)
The Harbour Centre provides free support to all those who have been affected by sexual abuse both recently and in the past. They are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week whether you wish to report to the police or not.
Their Independent Sexual Violence Adviser (ISVA) can offer you practical and emotional support to deal with your circumstances. Thier aim is to help give you the confidence, support and information you need to take control of your situation and move forward. Their advisers will listen and help you make informed decisions about what you want to do next. The Harbour Centre will treat you as an individual and will respect whatever choices you make.
You can use their services without reporting the matter to the police or they can support you in reporting it to the police whenever you feel it is right for you to do so.
The Harbour Centre's service is confidential and no information will be shared without your consent.
The University encourages students who have been subject to sexual violence to report it to the University so you get the appropriate support and advice you deserve.
If the assailant is another member of the University, a Student Support Adviser will discuss possible options you have in taking action against that student or staff member. It will be your decision on what if any next steps will be.
The Adviser will also discuss safeguarding your safety and wellbeing and managing any risks to you and the University community from the assailant. The University will take the necessary steps to avoid compromising a police investigation or endanger a successful prosecution should the incident be reported and/or brought to trial.
Reporting to the Police
You may want to report the incident directly to the police immediately. If you do not wish to meet the police at your home, a confidential room on campus can be made available for you.
- In an emergency call 999
- After the incident call 101 (non-emergency number)
University Investigations During Criminal Proceedings
During any criminal investigation and court proceedings, the University is not able to conduct any internal investigation or disciplinary actions, until the conclusion of the police and court cases. However, it is recommended that you still report it to the University even in your are/or have reported it to the police.
What to Expect
If you do not want to meet with the police in your house or accommodation it may be possible to meet with the police in a confidential room in the Student Support Centre, or in The Lodge, or in your Senior Resident's flat, if you have already made contact with one of these services.
In an emergency, a police officer will come and see you as soon as possible to check your welfare, to find out if you need medical assistance, and to undertake other steps appropriate to the emergency situation.
It is likely that a specially trained officer called a SOLO (Sexual Offence Liaison Officer) will then be contacted and will come out to see you. If the incident happened recently, the SOLO will usually be able to take mouth and urine samples immediately for forensic evidence. In non-emergency situations, the SOLO is likely to be the first police officer to attend to you.
A statement will be taken from you and the SOLO will offer to take you to The Harbour Centre, Norfolk's Sexual Assault Referral Centre (SARC). You can take a friend with you for support.
A forensic medical doctor will collect forensic evidence from you. You will be able to access emergency contraception and they can refer you to the nearest sexual health clinic. You will be offered a referral for on-going support from an Independent Sexual Violence Adviser.
After you have made your report, the specially trained SOLO will be assigned to your case and will act as your main point of contact during the police investigation.
You may be unsure about reporting the incident to the police, but would like to be able to retain forensic evidence for a future decision. You are able to refer yourself directly to The Harbour Centre (Norfolk's Sexual Assault Referral Centre), where they will offer the same services described above. You can only use the services at The Harbour Centre if you have an appointment.
To make an appointment, phone 01603 276381, 24 hours a day.
If you make contact with The Harbour Centre, they will not pressure you into contacting the police. They are there to provide support and to discuss all of the options available to you. They will respect any decision you make. If you choose to report to the police they will explain how to go through the process. You can also pass on information about the incident to the police anonymously.
If you are sure that you do not wish to report the incident to the police, you are still able to access the services at The Harbour Centre, and you can choose not to provide forensic evidence. You can still receive specialist medical support and be referred for ongoing support.
If you have any injuries, you can get 24 hour treatment from the Accident and Emergency department at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital.
If you are concerned about the risk of pregnancy or sexually transmitted infections, you can go to the University Medical Centre if you are registered there, or visit your own GP, or go to the iCaSH Sexual Health Clinic at 1a Oak Street, Norwich, NR3 3AE.