Wiltshire Rape Support Line

The criminal justice system


The decision whether to report your attack to the police is a very personal one to you. It may help to talk through your feelings about this with someone. The helpline can help you with this and will never tell you what to do. You have to make the decision for yourself. Only you know what is best for you. It can help to explore the options.Formexplode

If you do decide to report to the police then it is best to do it as soon after the attack as possible. This is necessary in order to collect evidence that is needed for a successful court prosecution. If at all possible try not to bath or shower before reporting and try to keep the clothes that you were wearing at the time. Your body and clothes contain vital evidence.

The police will take a statement from you and arrange for a medical examination to be done. You may find it helpful to take a friend or someone from Victim Support along with you. The police will tell you what will happen next. It is the decision of the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) and not the police whether to take the case to court or not.

The police are usually happy to take a statement and keep it on record if you do not want to make a formal complaint. You can do this anonymously. It may help them in the future if the offender assaults someone else.

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Perle Bleue

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Hallu Motion

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It can take up to a year for your case to come to court. Unless the offender pleads guilty you will be required to give evidence in court. Again it is helpful to have some support throughout this process. Victim Support can do this and can arrange for you to have a look around the courtroom prior to you giving evidence. Or you may have a friend or family member who can support you.

When you give your evidence you will be asked questions by the prosecution and then by the defence. In certain circumstances you may be able to give evidence from behind screens (so you would not have to see the defendant). This is quite rare (unless you are a child) but if you would like screens then you should talk to the police or CPS as soon as possible.

You should not be asked questions about your past sexual history unless the judge decides it is relevant.

You should be informed of the verdict once it is announced and also the sentence (given at a later date) if the verdict is a guilty one. Remember if the defendant is found not guilty it does not mean the jury does not believe you it means they did not feel there was enough evidence to convict. The judge will tell the jury that they may only find a guilty verdict if there is evidence "beyond all reasonable doubt".

You can claim your expenses for travel, meals, loss of earnings, childcare costs etc for the time you are required to be in court.

You may also take out a private prosecution for rape or sexual assault and you can sue your attacker for damages in a civil court. If you wish to pursue either of these options then you should consult a solicitor. It can be costly but you may feel it is worth it.

You can contact the Wiltshire Rape Support Line by calling; 01793 541144. We are open Tuesday evenings 7.00pm - 10.00pm, Thursdays 9.30am - 12.30pm & 7.00pm - 10.00pm and Sunday afternoons 2.00pm - 4.00pm.

There is an answerphone on at all other times. If you are able to leave a safe number we will call you back during these times or at other times by arrangement.

Or you can write to Rape Support, c/o 31A The Brittox, Devizes, Wiltshire, SN10 1AJ

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Copyright National Association of Victim Support Scheme. President, HRH The Princess Royal. Charity No. 900158.