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Sexual Misconduct

This guidance has been produced for students who have experienced sexual misconduct, which includes rape. It provides information that you might want to consider when deciding about what to do next. Whilst the guidance is aimed at recent misconduct, it also includes information about sources of support which may be useful for any student who is a survivor of sexual misconduct.

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If you have recently experienced sexual misconduct, you may be feeling many things. Some people report that they feel numb or shocked, confused, or frightened or fragile or angry. There is no right or wrong way to feel.

However, you are feeling, remember that this is not your fault, you are not to blame, and you are not alone. You should not feel under any pressure to act in any specific way. Any decisions made will be yours alone and will be respected.

The list below provides some steps for you to consider which are explained on this webpage.

1. Are you in a safe environment?

If the assault has just occurred, you might want to consider whether you feel safe where you are.

Emergency help

  • 999: If you or others feel at risk or consider the situation to be an emergency, you can call the police on 999. If you require urgent medical help, you should call for an ambulance (also on 999).
  • Campus Support: If you call for an ambulance or the police and you live on campus, please also call Campus Support on 01695 584227 so that they can direct the police or ambulance to you as quickly as possible.

Medical assistance

If you require medical treatment, you can either go to:

Contacting the University

  • Campus Support: If you are in University accommodation outside of office hours you may want to contact Campus Support on 01695 584227 (out of office hours).
  • The Wellbeing Team: However, if it is during office hours or you are in other accommodation you can also alert staff at the Mental Health & Wellbeing Team on 01695 650988.

It is up to you to choose what kind of support you want to access and whether or not you want to report the assault to the police. You can also choose to do nothing now. If you feel that it would be useful for you to take time and to think about the options open to you then that is a perfectly valid decision.

2. Time limits to be aware of

Please remember it is your choice what support you access and if you choose to report the assault to the police. You may even choose to take some time to think about your options and that is a perfectly valid decision. Before you make a decision regarding the support you may want or need, there are a few time limits you need to be aware of.

Emergency Contraception: If you want emergency contraception, then it is important to access advice as soon as possible. There are several options available to you, some available up to 5 days (120 hours) later.

  • To find your nearest emergency contraception provider, use this NHS site and insert your postcode.
  • Local providers to the Ormskirk campus include the pharmacy at Morrisons and the Hants Lane Sexual Health Clinic.
  • Our GP Partner Beacon operates a Sexual Health Clinic from Milton House for students registered with them. Check our wellbeing webpages for times
  • Information about sexual health clinics if you live in another area of Lancashire can be found via clicking the link.
  • For HIV Post-Exposure Prophylaxis (PEP) medication treatment you will need to start treatment within 72 hours. Advice can be offered from Safe Place and the Safe Centre.

Spiking: If you suspect you may have been given any type of drug it is recommended to be tested within the first 24 hours. Call the police on 999 to do this. See Spiking page for more information.

Preserving Forensic Evidence:

  • The SAFE Place and SAFE Centre also offer a service to collect and store any forensic evidence while you decide whether or not to report the incident to the police. If you want forensic evidence to be collected you should attend either the SAFE Place or SAFE Centre as soon as you can, advisably within 72 hours of the sexual assault.
  • To preserve any evidence as best as you can, try to take the following steps when possible:
  • Do not wash.
  • Do not brush your teeth.
  • Do not have a cigarette.
  • Do not eat or drink.
  • Do not change your clothes.
  • If you do change your clothes, do not wash them and put them in a clean paper bag.
  • Try not to go to the toilet.
  • Do not clear anything away or let other people or animals enter the area where the incident took place.

However, do not worry if you have already done some of these things, as it is still possible that there will be forensic evidence to collect.

3. Do you want to take some time to talk or think things through?

If the situation is not an emergency, you may want to take some time to think things through or to talk to someone you trust, such as a friend or a member of staff at the University.

Not all University staff are trained to provide specialist support for survivors of sexual assault. However, they can provide initial support and signpost you to specialist staff and support services in the University and in the local area.

The Mental Health & Wellbeing Team in Student Services have staff trained in supporting you and we would recommend that it is this team that you speak to you should you want to discuss what has happened. Their services are confidential unless, in exceptional circumstances, where it is deemed there is a danger to yourself or to others, or if there is a legal duty to report.

Student Services also provide counselling which you may find useful during this time or in the future.

You may prefer to speak to someone outside of the University such as a specialist support service for survivors of sexual assault and there are details about these organisations at the end of this guidance.

4. Reporting

Reporting immediately

If you have just been attacked you can call 999, alternatively you can call 101 for a less urgent response.

You can contact SAFE Place sexual assault referral centre in Liverpool on 0151 295 355 or the SAFE Centre in Preston on 01772 523344. 

They will ask you the following information:

  • Your name (you can just provide first name).
  • Your date of birth.
  • Your address.
  • Your contact number.
  • The date and time of the assault (this may be recent or have been some time in the past).
  • Some brief details about the assault.
  • Do you think you might need emergency contraception?
  • Do you want the police to be informed?
  • Would you like a forensic medical examination?

Police

  • When you give your statement to the police try not to leave anything out, however embarrassing or painful it may be. If you can’t remember something, it is okay to say so.
  • Don’t be afraid to tell the truth about things like how much you had to drink, or using recreational drugs as this may harm the chances of prosecution if the police have been misinformed.
  • You may choose to report the incident anonymously, to get the perpetrator on the police radar. As this may not lead to their arrest it could help make another reported case stronger.

Reporting later

  • Some people choose to take time to think about what they want to do, which may lead to you reporting the incident later.
  • If you are not sure what to do, you can go to SAFE Place or the SAFE Centre as they can talk you through the different options available to you. They can store forensic evidence for you for up to two years while you decide what you want, they also provide assistance and support which you can access without reporting to the police.

Reporting to the University

  • Even if you choose not to report the incident to the police you can still report it to the University if it involves a student or staff member. The University will take your report very seriously and have a team of staff to support you and staff who can investigate the incident if that is what you want to do.
  • To report another student to the University by contacting Student Resolution Services.

Report a staff member

You can report a staff member and request an incident is investigated by contacting Human Resources and asking to speak to a HR Advisor.

If you choose to report the incident to the police you can still report the incident to us as well. Once the police investigation is completed and the outcome decided then you can still request that we investigate the incident under the Staff or Student Disciplinary Procedures. We will not undertake any investigation whilst the police are involved as it may prove detrimental to any criminal case. However we can offer you support during this period and consider any risks to yourself or others that you may be concerned about as a result of the incident.

Can I report to the police and the University?

  • Yes. If you choose to report the incident to the police you can still report the incident to us as well.
  • Once the police investigation is completed and the outcome decided then you can still request that we investigate the incident under the Staff or Student Disciplinary Procedures.
  • We will not undertake any investigation whilst the police are involved as it may prove detrimental to any criminal case, however, we can offer you support during this period and consider any risks to yourself or others that you may be concerned about as a result of the incident.

Please be assured that you can still receive support if you choose not to report it by contacting our Mental Health & Wellbeing Team on 01695 650988 or via email

5. External agencies

For expert advice on these issues, you can contact the following agencies:

SAFE Place
Sexual Assault Referral Centre in Liverpool
0151 295 3550

OR

SAFE Centre
Sexual Assault Referral Centre in Preston
01772 523344

Sexual Assault and Childhood Sexual Abuse
Rape and Sexual Abuse Support Centre/Cheshire and Merseyside
Offer counselling and access to Independent Sexual Violence Advisors.

Lancashire Victim Services
Provide emotional support, information and practical help, regardless of whether you have reported the crime to the police or not.
0300 323 0085
Monday-Friday 8.00am-8.00pm, Saturday 9.00am-5.00pm

Survivors UK
Support for male survivors of domestic Abuse/physical violence.
0203 598 3898 – open Monday – Friday 9.30am – 5.00pm
Helpline webchat – Monday – Sunday 12.00pm – 8.00pm

Galop
Emotional and practical support for LGBT people experiencing domestic abuse.
0800 999 5428
help@galop.org.uk

Liverpool Domestic Abuse Service
For women and girls experiencing domestic abuse
0151 263 7474 / Freephone 0800 084 2744
Mobile/text for hard of hearing: 0756 201 3316

Savera
For women from black, minority ethnic and refugee communities experiencing domestic violence.
Savera UK, 151 Dale Street, Liverpool, L2 2AH
0800 107 0726

National Women’s Aid

Southall Black Sisters
For black and Asian women and children experiencing domestic and sexual violence, including forced marriage and honour crimes. Languages: English, Hindi, Punjabi, Gujarati and Urdu.
020 85710800 9.30am-4.30pm Monday, Wednesday and Friday

Sexual health clinic
Click the link above for information about Sexual Health Clinics in Lancashire or call 0300 1234 154

Stalking
Stalking Helpline  0808 802 0300
Network for surviving stalking 

Rights of Women
Rights of women is a women’s voluntary sector organisation which provides free legal advice and information to women affected by sexual violence. They publish a range of free information on areas of sexual violence law to support women through the criminal justice process, including From Report to Court: a handbook for adult survivors of sexual violence.

6. Independent Sexual Violence Adviser (ISVA)

If you have been affected by sexual violence, you might experience short and long term emotional and physical effects. This can have a big impact on your life.

You will be able to speak to an Independent Sexual Violence Adviser (ISVA).

What is an Independent Sexual Violence Adviser?

ISVAs are professionals that can give you practical and emotional support. It doesn’t matter whether the crime has been reported to the police. You can speak to your ISVA in person, over the phone, via email or by text. Your ISVA will respond sensitively to your needs and will support you at your pace. They are your advocate and will work with you to find out what kind of support you need. They will only give you the support you choose and will work with you for as long as you want.

Your ISVA can:

  • Assess your needs
  • Provide information and advice to help you think through your options
  • Work with other agencies to make sure that you are safe
  • Help you get external counselling or mental health services if necessary
  • Support you with sexual health issues and appointments
  • Support you with housing concerns
  • Give information about other specialist services such as drug and alcohol agencies
  • Making referrals to these agencies with your consent
  • Support you at appointments such as with your GP, GUM (genitourinary medicine clinic), police interviews or housing offices.

Reporting to the police

Your ISVA will support you regardless of whether you chose to make a report or not. If you do decide to report the crime to the police your ISVA will:

  • Keep you up-to-date with your case
  • Explain legal jargon and processes
  • Offer you a pre-court visit
  • Explain ways in which the trial could be made easier for you
  • Attend court with you
  • Support you whatever the outcome
  • Guide you in applying for criminal injuries compensation following the trial

All of our services are free and confidential.

Any information you give will stay confidential. The only time we may have to disclose information to appropriate other agencies is when we feel that you or someone else is at risk of harm or we are required by law to do so.

Further advice and information