Skip to main content

Sexual Assault

What is sexual assault?

A sexual assault is any sexual act that a person did not consent to, or is forced into against their will. It is a form of sexual violence and includes rape (an assault involving penetration of the vagina, anus or mouth), or other sexual offences, such as groping, forced kissing, child sexual abuse or the torture of a person in a sexual manner.

Sexual assault is a sexual act that is carried out without the victim's active consent. This means they didn't agree to it.

If you've been sexually assaulted

If you've been sexually assaulted, there are services that can help. You don't have to report the assault to police if you don't want to. You may need time to think about what has happened to you. However, consider getting medical help as soon as possible, because you may be at risk of pregnancy or sexually transmitted infections (STIs). If you want the crime to be investigated, the sooner a forensic medical examination takes place, the better.

Try not to wash or change your clothes immediately after a sexual assault. This may destroy forensic evidence that could be important if you decide to report the assault to the police.

Sexual assault referral centres

Sexual assault referral centres (SARCs) are your first port of call if you have been sexually assaulted.  They offer medical, practical and emotional support. They have specially trained doctors, nurses and support workers to care for you. Find out more information about Amethyst Sexual Assault Referral Centre (SARC) in North Wales, including how the service works and how to get in contact. 

The following services will also provide treatment or support, and can refer you to another service if you need more specialist help (such as a SARC):

  • a doctor or practice nurse at your GP surgery
  • a voluntary organisation, such as Women's Aid, Victim Support, The Survivors Trust or Survivors UK (for male victims of sexual assault)
  • Live Fear Free - the 24-hour freephone 
  • Rape Crisis England & Wales
  • a hospital Emergency Department 
  • a genitourinary medicine (GUM) or sexual health clinic
  • a contraceptive clinic
  • a young people's service
  • NHS 111 Wales
  • the police, or dial 101

Website links and resources