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Rape and Sexual Assault

If you have been the victim of sexual assault, either as an adult or as a young person, it is important to remember that it was not your fault. Sexual violence is a crime, no matter who commits it, where or when it happens.


What is rape?

Rape is when someone puts their penis into (penetrates) the vagina, anus or mouth of another person without their consent.

What is sexual assault?

A sexual assault is any sexual act that a person did not consent to – meaning they did not agree to it. This can include:

Assault by penetration is when someone puts another part of their body – or an object – into another person’s vagina or anus without that person’s consent.

Sexual assault is when someone touches another person in a sexual way, without that person’s consent.


What is consent?

Consent is when someone agrees by choice and has the freedom and capacity to make that choice. For example, if a person is unconscious or incapacitated by alcohol or drugs, they are unable to give their consent.

More guidance on the ‘Consent is everything’ website

Remember: if it is not your choice, you have not given consent.

Anyone of any age, gender, sexuality, ethnicity, social background can be a victim of rape and sexual assault. The perpetrator (the person carrying out the assault) is more likely to be someone known to the victim – a partner, former partner, relative, friend or colleague.

For the victim, the extent of the sexual assault does not determine how distressing they find it or how violated they feel. Every incident is different and the victim’s reaction will be different. What is important is that anyone affected receives the right support for them.


I have been raped / sexually assaulted – what now?

What happens next is up to you

South Wales Police is here to help and we would urge you to contact us to report this crime. However, you do not have to report the assault to police if you do not want to and we understand that you may need time to process what has happened to you.

If you do report the assault, please be assured that you will be treated with respect and sensitivity and a specially trained officer will be assigned to your case. We are not here to make judgements about you or your lifestyle. Our priority is to protect and support you, and to hold the offender to account for the harm they have caused.


What is the alternative if I do not want to report the assault to the police?

For specialist medical attention and sexual violence support, you can go directly to a sexual assault referral centre (SARC) without contacting the police, and we would urge you to consider getting help and support as soon as possible for your emotional and physical wellbeing.


Sexual Assault Referral Centres

Sexual assault referral centres (SARCs) offer medical, practical and emotional support with specially trained doctors, nurses and support workers to care for you.

Sexual assault referral centres (SARCs) based in the South Wales Police area:

New Pathways – Willow House
Address: 11 Church Street, Merthyr Tydfil, CF47 0BS Telephone: 01685 350099 Fax: 01685 384640 Email: sarc@newpathways.co.uk

Safe Island/Ynys Saff
Address: Newport Road, Cardiff, CF24 0SJ Telephone: 02920 335795

New Pathways – Beech Tree Centre
Address: Emily Phipps House, Hendrefoilan Student Village, Swansea, SA2 7NB Telephone: 01792 206885 Email: swanseasarc@btconnect.com

See the full list of SARCs in the UK


What will happen at the SARC?

Often victims of rape and sexual assault can feel that they have limited choices and believe that telling someone what happened to them will result in events quickly becoming out of their control. However, the essence of SARC services is that they are completely client focused and designed to ensure that clients receive the right information to enable them to make their own choices about what happens next.

Find out more about what the support and services provided at a Sexual Assault Referral Centre (SARC).

SARC services and ISVA support are free to all, whether a resident of the UK or not.


More information and help

Live Fear Free
The Survivors Trust Cymru
South Wales Victim Focus

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