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.
  • 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.

Victim Support is the oldest victims’ charity in the world, with more than 40 years’ experience of supporting and working with people affected by crime. We are a trusted partner and work closely with local organisations and communities, local and national agencies, local and national government, and other third-sector organisations to deliver effective, victim-centred services that give people the support they need to move beyond the impact of crime.

We are an acknowledged leader in helping victims, and an organisation which takes equality and the quality of our work very seriously. We are continuously revising our serious crime training to ensure we maintain our high standards of service. We work closely with other partners in local strategic partnerships, including Violence Against Women and Girls (VAWG) delivery partnerships and partnerships to support victims of female genital mutilation and forced or coercive marriage.

If you’ve been affected by sexual violence and would like information or support, request support using our online form or call our free Supportline on 08 08 16 89 111. If you are deaf or hard of hearing, you can contact us using Relay UK on 18001 08 08 16 89 111.