Sexual violence services
We know that victims of rape and sexual violence often prefer not to report their experiences, for a variety of reasons. In addition, victims of female genital mutilation and ‘honour-based’ violence and coercion may be afraid to report the crime for family or cultural reasons.
So we work with local police forces and strategic partners to encourage reporting, and to ensure that victims who come forward get support that’s tailored to their individual needs and circumstances.
Sexual violence and exploitation is always unacceptable and the responsibility for the behaviour always rests with the perpetrator.
The impact of sexual violence
As well as suffering direct hurt and abuse, there are other effects on victims:
- Those who experience childhood sexual abuse, or sexual violence as a child or young person may be vulnerable to further abuse and exploitation.
- Those victims who are particularly vulnerable because of disabilities, health or social needs may need support in recognising what has happened to them.
- Very few cases get to court, and when they do victims and witnesses often find the process incredibly difficult. Well-supported victims are usually more willing to work with criminal justice agencies and help bring offenders to justice.
How VS helps
- We provide a robust, professional and consistent support service to all victims of sexual violence, including specialist support for young victims, male victims and those experiencing it within same-sex relationships.
- We work with specialist sexual violence organisations (such as the local Sexual Assault Referral Centres (SARCs) and Rape Crisis organisations), the police and, in some parts of the country, we employ Independent Sexual Violence Advisors (ISVAs).
- Our staff work alongside our specialist trained sexual violence volunteers, to support victims of sexual violence.
- We provide gender-specific support, so that people feel comfortable talking to our volunteers.
- All victims referred to Victim Support have a full and careful needs and risk assessment, to ensure that we tailor our services to victims’ needs and refer to partners and specialist organisations when appropriate.
- We also help people if their case goes to court, which can be a particularly difficult time for people affected by these crimes.
- We provide specialist support and administration services to victims pursuing criminal injury compensation claims after sexual violence.