Rape and Sexual Assault
There is no need to feel alone
The Police Service of Northern Ireland treats all reports of sexual assault from women and men very seriously.
Help us to help you
Your clothes may hold vital evidence about your attacker. We need you to keep these for us. Please do not wash them or attempt to destroy them. If you need to change into something else, please put the garments you were wearing, including your underwear, into a bag so our officers can collect it when they visit you. We also need you to try and resist the urge to shower or bathe, as there could also be evidence on your body. Remember, you are our first and most important witness. These simple but very important first steps can help us catch the person that attacked you.
You will be treated gently, sensitively, and with patience
When our officers come to visit you, they will record an initial account of what happened to you. They will then take you to a police building which has been designed specifically for people like you who have suffered an attack. You can sit comfortably and talk to detectives about your ordeal. These detectives are very experienced in dealing with victims of sexual assault. They will understand how you feel.
Rape and sexual assault – the facts
Sexual assaults are devastating experiences for any person. They can happen to men as well as women. If this happens to you it is important to remember that it is not your fault. It is incorrect to say that only heterosexual men and women can be victims of sexual assault. Members of the Gay and Lesbian community can also be victims.
Do you already know your attacker?
More often than not, the attacker will be known to you, and it can happen in the family home. It could be your partner, or another member of your family. It could happen as part of ongoing domestic abuse.
Links to other organisations that may be able to help and support you
The following link is a guide for victims and witnesses about how the Northern Ireland Criminal Justice system works. It may help you understand what can happen in criminal cases.
NO consent? No excuse!
Men should be aware that if they have sex with a partner who is too drunk to properly consent to sex, they could be charged with rape.
Alcohol and drugs can very seriously reduce a person's ability to make clear decisions, This is especially true when it comes to sexual activity. When out socialising, everyone should remember to drink responsibly. If you have consumed too much alcohol to be able to understand what you are doing or what is happening to you, you are not in a position to properly give consent to sexual intercourse.
There is also the danger that your drink could be “spiked”, meaning that someone has put a substance into your glass or drinks container with the intent of drugging you to make you more vulnerable to attack. There are a number of measures you can take to stop this from happening;
- Always keep your drink with you.
- Drink out of a bottle.
- Make sure that you take your drink straight from the bar staff.
- Don’t accept a drink from a stranger.
Read more advice on how to stay safe when you are out in public.
In an emergency always dial 999.
If you have other enquiries or want to talk to an experienced officer, dial 0845 600 8000.