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Non-Emergency Enquiries: 101

Rape and Serious Sexual Assault

Sex without consent is rape, and No really means No.

    There are many misconceptions around the serious crime of sexual assault and rape. Our message is that whatever the circumstances No really does mean No. Victims can often blame themselves, but the fact is that abuse is never okay and it is not the victim's fault.

    Pressurising someone to have sex or take part in sexual activity who doesn't want to or has not consented is rape, whether you know the suspect or not is irrelevant. Over two-thirds of rapes take place in the home of the victim or suspect. We would encourage people to think about violence, abuse, controlling behaviour and what consent means within their relationships as we understand the massive impact it can have on victims.

    We believe media coverage of high profile cases is helping victims feel confident to report incidents to us more often, understanding we take these types of crimes seriously and feeling assured that we will carry out robust investigations to bring offenders to justice. We would encourage anyone who has been a victim of this type of abuse to report it to us, regardless of when it happened.

    There are many organisations that can also offer help and support such as a Sexual Assault Referral Centre (SARC) which support victims of serious sexual assault.

    The SARC is a health service facility specifically designed to look after people who have been raped and/or sexually assaulted. It has a worldwide reputation for excellence. If you report rape to the police we will arrange for you to attend the SARC if you agree.

    You can also make a self referral to the SARC if you are unsure about reporting to the Police.

    Grange Park Sexual Assault Referral Centre is a centre providing services to men, women and children living in Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire, who have been raped or sexually assaulted. At Grange Park you can access a range of services that are free and confidential.

    For more information on Grange Park and the services offered, please click here.

    You can contact Grange Park by calling 0300 7900 166 or e-mail sarc@ssotp.nhs.uk

    Making that first call or talking about abuse can be very hard for victims, so it is important to know that help and support is available.

    If you have been the victim of a serious sexual assault then please report it - call us on 101 so we can help.

    Q: Can you tell me if there are any registered sex offenders in my area and about Sarah's law?

    A: Details of any registered sex offenders are kept on a register for the police only, it is not for public access. If you have any concerns over the activities of a local resident then you should speak to your local neighbourhood policing team.

    The Child Sex Offender Disclosure Scheme (Sarah's Law) allows members of the public to make a request that the police investigate a person. However, no disclosure will be made unless the applicant is a parent, carer or guardian of a child requiring information regarding a person who has unsupervised access to that particular child or children.

    Once an application for an investigation has been made, police will require the applicant to specify the grounds for the investigation and the nature of the relationship between the applicant and the child. The applicant will be invited to an interview with the police where matters will be looked into further.

    Whilst the police have a duty to explore the request, there is no requirement for the police to disclose any information and all requests for information about named individuals will be discussed by the police, probation and safeguarding children staff in order to determine whether the release of information will provide additional protection for the child(ren) in question.

    Q: I have been raped but I am too scared to come forward. What is the procedure and will the police take the report seriously?

    A: Police take all reports of sexual attacks very seriously regardless of the nature of the offence.

    You will first speak to a uniformed officer who will ask you some general questions (you can ask to speak to an officer of a certain gender if it would make you more comfortable), you will then be taken to a specialist suite where you will be spoken to by specially trained officers. The questions that these officers ask will be more in depth.

    Don't worry if you feel embarrassed or ashamed, the officers are specially trained to help you. If you consent you will undergo a medical examination by a trained police medical examiner. An officer will be allocated to your case and will keep you regularly updated on its progress.

    Q: I suffered sexual abuse as a child and now I feel I can report it, what can the police do?

    A: Any report of historic sexual abuse to the police is treated seriously and the matter will be thoroughly investigated.

    Beyond that, no other predictions about the outcome of any case can ever be made and it is important that any person in such circumstances has realistic expectations - the passage of time means that much of the evidence may have been lost.

    Q: What is revenge porn and is it illegal?

    A: Revenge porn is illegal and usually occurs when a person publishes/shares/discloses a private sexual photograph or film, without the consent of the person who appears in it; intending to cause that person distress. It does not have to be published on the internet for it to be a crime, it can be sent via text message or shown in person. However, it is not an offence if the photograph or film is shown only to the person who appears in it.

    A person found guilty of this offence may face a fine or even imprisonment.

    If you believe that you have been the victim of revenge porn then contact the police on 101.