We are committed to providing a safe and supportive environment for all our students and to responding appropriately to any incidents of sexual violence. Sexual violence and misconduct will not be tolerated, and will be thoroughly investigated to ensure the preservation of a safe work and study environment.
Sexual assault can take many different forms and covers a range of unwelcome sexual conduct from inappropriate language to violent sexual assault. There doesn’t need to have been physical contact for a sexual assault to have taken place.
Sexual Violence and Misconduct can be experienced by any individual, regardless of sex, gender, sexual orientation, relationship status, age, disability, faith, ethnicity, nationality and economic status.
What do I need to know?
What do I need to know?
We understand that any incident of rape or sexual assault may leave you feeling a wide range of emotions including shock, distress, anger, guilt, helplessness, humiliation or fear. With this in mind it is important that you know who you can talk to and how you can access support. Reporting a case of rape or sexual assault does not necessarily instigate the University’s disciplinary process.
It is up to you which services you contact, only you can determine how to proceed. Should you wish to talk to somebody at the University you can choose to speak to a member of the Wellbeing, Skills and Diversity team in confidence who will be able to advise you on your options and the support available from the university and external agencies that can assist you in your recovery?
It can be difficult to know which actions to take, so our aim is to provide you with all of the relevant information which can help you make a fully informed decision about what to do next. You are not obliged to report the assault to the University, but if you do decide to tell us we will offer appropriate support.
Taking care of yourself after a Sexual Assault
Looking after yourself is essential. Whether it happened recently or years ago, self-care can help you cope with the short and long-term effects of a trauma like sexual assault.
There is no right or wrong emotional response, each individual will have their own reaction. It is common to experience a mix of emotion and feelings; it is therefore important to seek support and practice active self-care. The following advice may be helpful:
- Be patient with yourself. You have had a traumatic experience and need to give yourself time, be kind to yourself.
- Get support from friends, family and/or from professional support services, whatever you feel comfortable with. One way of getting your feelings out is talking about how you feel. If you find it too traumatic to talk to others try writing it down or expressing your feelings through other creative outputs.
- It is not uncommon to feel isolated but it is important for you to reach out to those that are close to you.
- Sexual assault is extremely traumatic and may interrupt your life at university and can affect your relationships with your friends and family. Try not to go through this alone and allow others to help you explore the emotions and concerns you will have.
- It is important to look after your physical health. Try to maintain a balanced diet and sleep cycle as much as possible; looking after your physical health will help you deal with the emotional stress.
- Pay attention to your own needs and feelings. Engage in activities you enjoy and find relaxing. Try some stress reduction techniques including relaxation exercise such as yoga and meditation. Do something for yourself every day.
Reporting to the Police
If the assault has just occurred you might want to consider whether you feel safe where you are. If you feel that you or others are at risk or consider the situation to be an emergency, you can call the police or an ambulance on 999.
If you are in University accommodation or on campus it is advisable to call security on 07860 834802, to let them know that the emergency services have been called so that they can give them access.
If it is not an emergency but you still want to report the incident to the police you can call Thames Valley Police on 101. You can request to talk to the Rape Investigation Team directly.
The police can take you to Solace Sexual Assault Referral Centre (SARC) located in Bicester where you can have a forensic medical examination and get medical and emotional help.
To help get the best quality forensic evidence, the SARC recommends that you try not to eat, drink, smoke, wash, change your clothes, go to the toilet or clear up the area where the assault took place. If you need to go to the toilet collect a sample and the paper in separate bags. If you have done any of these things, don’t worry as it is often possible to get some forensic evidence, so this should not stop you reporting.
Time limits to be aware of:
- If you suspect you were given any type of drug, it is best to be tested within 24 hours.
- If you want emergency contraception, the medication should be started within 72 hours.
- If you would like HIV prophylaxis, the medication should be started within 72 hours
- Any forensic evidence collected can be stored whilst you decide what to do next. Please see section on collection of forensic evidence.
It is up to you to choose what kind of support you want to access, but you might want to consider getting medical attention even if you do not want to report the assault to the Police. You can contact the Terence Higgins Trust at the Swan Practice North End Surgery for further advice. You can make an appointment by calling 03003032880.
- See Thames Valley Police guidance on Rape and Sexual Assault .
- Reporting at a police station or attending a SARC ( SOLACE) can be a very lengthy process but you will be listened to and supported through the process. It might be helpful to bring along a supportive friend or relative.
- If you have not changed your clothes since the incident, it is advisable to bring a spare set
- Self-referral procedures with SARC are the same as the Police. Information will be kept confidential if you do not want to involve the Police.
- When you give your statement to the police try not to leave anything out, however embarrassing or painful it may be. If you can’t remember something, it is ok to say so. Don’t be afraid to tell the truth about things like how much you had to drink, or using recreational drugs, because if the truth comes out later it may harm the chances of prosecution.
- Another option is to report anonymously through SARC. It can put the perpetrator in the police radar. They might not be arrested, but it can help make another reported case stronger.
- Many people do not wish to report immediately, but decide after a while that they want to do so. This is perfectly acceptable and there are steps you can take to make this easier.
- If you are not sure what to do, you can go to the SARC or talk to a trained advisor at Aylesbury Vale Rape Crisis which is situated in Aylesbury Town centre. The advisor can talk you through the different options available to you. SARC can store forensic evidence for you until you make up your mind about reporting. If you wish, they can keep DNA results on record and let you know if it matches with other reported assaults, still with no obligation on you to report. The SARC also provides medical and emotional help, which you can access without reporting to the Police.
Report a sexual assault to the University
We are committed to providing a safe and supportive environment for all our students and to responding appropriately to any incidents of sexual violence.
If you have witnessed or been a victim of sexual assault, you can report it confidentially to the Wellbeing, Skills and Diversity team or the Student Conduct Manager by using Report +Support. You are not obliged to report the assault to the University, but if you do decide to tell us we will offer appropriate support. You can remain anonymous, or provide contact details if you would like to receive support.