85,000 women are raped or sexually assaulted each year

For free and confidential advice 24/7 365 days a year

Call 0117 342 6999

When did this happen?

Less than 8 days ago?

More than 8 days ago?

your-choicesYour choices

I do not want to report to the police

  • Call The Bridge on 0117 342 6999
  • A Crisis Worker will listen to what has happened to you and explain how we can help
  • We can arrange for a doctor or nurse to examine you to check you are ok and, if we’re in the forensic* time-frame, look for forensic evidence
  • We will store forensic samples for 2 years. If you decide to report to the police the samples can be used as evidence in their investigation
    You can have an examination even if you have already washed, although there will be more DNA evidence on your body if you feel able to wait until after an examination
  • We will make sure that your sexual health is looked after
  • We can give you emergency contraception if needed
  • We will offer you practical and emotional support, including counselling.

*forensic time-frames can vary.  Call The Bridge 0117 342 6999.

I want to report to the police

  • Call the police on 101 or 999.
  • A specially trained officer will come to speak with you.
  • The officer may call The Bridge to arrange for a doctor or nurse to examine you to check you are ok and, if we’re in the forensic* time-frame, look for forensic evidence.
  • You can have an examination even if you have already washed, although there will be more DNA evidence on your body if you feel able to wait until after an examination.
  • We will make sure that your sexual health is looked after.
  • We can give you emergency contraception if needed.
  • After you leave The Bridge an Independent Sexual Violence Adviser can support you with the police investigation.
  • We will offer you practical and emotional support including counselling.

*forensic time-frames can vary.  Call The Bridge 0117 342 6999.

I do not want to report to the police

  • Call The Bridge on 0117 342 6999.
  • A Crisis Worker will listen carefully and supportively to understand what happened to you, when it happened and what your situation is now.
  • The Crisis Worker will explain what support is available to you and help you to decide on your next steps.
  • You do not have to tell the Crisis Worker your name or contact details unless you choose to.
  • If you do give us your name and contact details, the Crisis Worker will help to arrange any support that you decide you want.
  • The support we can arrange includes sexual health care, advocacy and counselling.

I want to report to the police

  • Call the police on 101 or 999.
  • A specially trained officer will come to speak with you.
  • The officer will give The Bridge your details and ask us to contact you to offer you support.
  • The officer will arrange for you to complete a video interview. An Independent Sexual Violence Advisor can support you when you meet with the police for this interview. If you have not heard from an Independent Sexual
  • Violence Advisor before your interview, ask the police why not.
  • Other support that The Bridge can arrange includes sexual health care and counselling.

Here, no matter what

We know how hard it can be to tell someone that you have been raped or sexually assaulted. No matter what happened to you, where you were, or who did it – The Bridge can help. We’re here 24/7, 365 days a year.

You may be confused about what has happened, overwhelmed, emotional or numb. You may feel alone, angry, ashamed or frightened – these, and many other thoughts and feelings, are all normal responses to being sexually assaulted or raped.

Call us on 0117 342 6999. We will listen to you, even if you find it very difficult to speak. We will believe you. We will explain the help that is available to you and support you to decide what you want to do next.

The Bridge can help

Our specialist team can offer you:

• Emotional and psychological support
• Medical care, including sexual health and emergency contraception
• Practical help
• Free counselling for you, and family or friends
• Information about making a report to the police

Anything you tell us is confidential and you can also speak to us anonymously.

Concerns or questions you may have

When you call us, we will listen carefully and explain what choices you have. We understand you may have concerns or questions – you can talk to us about these, and other things you would like advice about.

Can I get emergency contraception?

You can call us for advice if you are worried about becoming pregnant after being raped or sexually assaulted.

We can also explain how to get emergency contraception or give it to you if you decide to come to The Bridge for a forensic medical examination.

Emergency contraception works best if it is taken as soon as possible. In some cases the medicine can be taken up to 5 days after sex.

I wasn’t injured so will I be taken seriously?

We know that sexual assault and rape rarely result in physical injuries. It is a different kind of violence that is committed against you. The police also know this. When you call The Bridge we will believe you and support you.

What is a forensic medical examination?

If you have been sexually assaulted recently and tell the police what has happened to you, they will offer to bring you to The Bridge for a forensic medical examination.

However, you can also come and have an examination without telling the police. The Bridge will store your samples in case you decide later that you do want to make a report.

When you arrive at The Bridge you’ll be met by a member of our specialist team. While you are here, they will make sure that you understand everything that is going on and ensure that the examination only happens if you want it to.

They will listen very carefully to what you say to them and will also notice what influence other people might be having on your decisions. You can change your mind about being examined at any time, including during the examination.

We know how important it is for you to feel in control of what happens to your body and we will do everything possible to support you in that.

When you are comfortable, a nurse or doctor will examine you to check that you are ok and look for DNA to support your case if you decide to report to the police. They will also talk to you about your sexual health and emergency contraception if relevant.

I'm in pain – how worried should I be?

If your pain is internal it is unlikely that you have been seriously injured. It is a good idea to get checked out just to be sure but both the vagina and the anus heal quickly.

If you come to The Bridge for a forensic medical examination our nurse or doctor will also check for any injuries. If you do not want to have a forensic medical examination, we can give you advice and help you to arrange a check-up somewhere that you feel comfortable.

If you are bleeding a lot or are in extreme pain, please contact us or go to your local Accident and Emergency Department as soon as possible.

I’m worried about sexually transmitted infections

You can call us to discuss any concerns you have about your sexual health after being raped or sexually assaulted.

It is important to have a check-up just to make sure – most STIs are easily treated with medicine. If you come to The Bridge for a forensic medical examination, a specialist nurse or doctor will talk to you and offer you medicine if that is relevant.

We can also arrange for you to have a sexual health check-up at your local sexual health clinic or with your GP. Whichever feels more comfortable for you.

If you are worried about the risk of HIV it is important to talk to someone about it. The rate of HIV in the South West of England is very low.

People will blame me because I was drinking or took drugs

At The Bridge we listen, believe and do not judge. No-one has the right to have sexual contact with another person against their will or when they are unable to give consent because they have taken alcohol or drugs.

I’m unsure if I want to make a report to police

It is entirely your decision if you want to make a report to police or not.

You can call The Bridge for medical care and emotional support now, then decide about talking to police later.

You can come to The Bridge for a forensic medical examination by a specialist nurse or doctor. They will check you are ok and take samples which The Bridge can store in case you decide later that you want to speak to the police about what has happened to you.

You can also bring clothes bedding or other items for us to store if you think there may be DNA evidence on them.

Can I give information to the police anonymously?

If you do not feel able to speak to the police about what has happened to you, it is possible to give them information anonymously. A member of our specialist team will support you to create a statement and we can give that information to the police without providing them with any of your personal details.

Sometimes the police call us after receiving this kind of information and ask us to contact you to see if you would be willing to speak to them informally. We will never pressure you into this, but in the past people have told us that this has helped them to have confidence that they will be believed and taken seriously. They have then decided to make an official report to the police.

What other practical support is available to me?

We will offer to arrange support from an Independent Sexual Violence Advisor. If you decide to make a report to police, they will advocate for you while your case is investigated and make sure that you receive regular updates from the police. They will also make sure that you are well supported if your case goes to court.

An Independent Sexual Violence Advisor can also help with practical things. They might contact an employer on your behalf, help you to arrange meetings to sort out benefits or housing, or simply be someone to call if something related to your experience is worrying you.

Are you ready to get in touch? Call us on 0117 342 6999

Specialist telephone listening service for women

SARSAS helpline for women and girls

info-marker-light-blueResources

Help and guidance if you have been sexually assaulted, if you want to know how to support someone you care about.

info-marker-light-blueContact Us

Ready to get in touch? We’re here 24/7, 365 days a year. Information on the ways you can contact our specialist team.

Experiences

The Bridge has completely changed my life and my outlook on life. I’ve come to appreciate my life I have now even after everything that has happened. I feel like a completely different person, and other people have noticed the positive changes too. I would definitely recommend the Bridge to other people, I feel like the Bridge is the silver lining to the thunderstorm

From a counselling client at the Bridge