Friends & family

Has someone you care about been affected by sexual assault or rape?

Your feelings about the sexual abuse or rape they have experienced may be very complicated, whether it happened recently or a long time ago.

It is important to recognise these feelings and think about how to manage them so that you can provide the best possible support to your family member or friend.

By being supportive, respectful and non-judgmental you can help them to recover and live a full and meaningful life.

How you can help

  • Believe what they tell you. They may find it difficult to explain what happened in a clear and consistent way. This is because sexual assault and rape are traumatic experiences. The body and brain can react in complex ways resulting in memories that are confused.
  • Ask them how you may be able to help but give them time and space to respond and respect their decisions. Restoring their sense of control over themselves and their life is vital in helping them to begin to recover from what has happened to them.
  • Reassure them that their feelings are normal. This includes feelings of self-blame and guilt but remind them that responsibility lies with the person who did this to them.
  • Check that they are now physically safe and if not help them to make arrangements to become safe. Tell that that you are there to help and offer information about The Bridge.
  • Do not make promises you cannot keep.

Support for you

We understand that you may feel confused about what is happening for them and how you can best give your support. You may also have your own strong feelings about what has happened and what should happen now.

We can offer you an appointment with one of our Crisis Workers. The Crisis Worker will be able to talk to you about how you are feeling at the moment and provide you with some key resources and arrange any available support for you, whilst you support your loved one.

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

Resources

Advice on supporting someone who has experienced rape or sexual assault
View our resources

About Us

Here, no matter what. Find out who we are and how we can help.
About us

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 look for forensic evidence*, if this is what you choose to go ahead with
  • 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 may 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, and will arrange this support for you

*Forensic timescales vary (this means that for different types of assault, there are different lengths of time that we can look for DNA evidence, ring The Bridge on 0117 342 6999 to discuss how we can help you and your situation).

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 to look for forensic evidence*
  • You can have an examination even if you have already washed, although there may 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, and will arrange this support for you

*Forensic timescales vary (this means that for different types of assault, there are different lengths of time that we can look for DNA evidence, ring The Bridge on 0117 342 6999 to discuss how we can help you and your situation).

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, talk to your allocated police officer or call The Bridge
  • Other support that The Bridge can arrange includes sexual health care and counselling

Last reviewed: September 2019

Next review: March 2020

Experiences

All the staff have been so friendly and welcoming, and very kind. I was supported from the very first contact, and overall, could not have gone through the past few years without this wonderful service.  A major asset to our NHS service, and one that I hope is able to reach as many individuals as need it.