Involving the police | Devon & Cornwall Police
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Sexual assault / rape

Involving the police

First steps: contacting the police

You can either come to a police station or you can phone us and we will arrange for an officer to come and talk to you. You can have a friend or family member present when you meet the police.

You can choose whether to speak to a male or female sexual offences liaison officer (SOLO), who will be your single point of contact with the police. They will keep you updated about the investigation.

They will ask you the following initial questions:

  • Your name and address.
  • When and where you were assaulted.
  • What happened to you
  • Whatever you can tell us about the attacker (what they looked or sounded like, what they were wearing, how old they were, etc.), or even if you know who they are. We want to be able to pass on a description so that our police officers on patrol can be looking out for them.

We realise it might be difficult or embarrassing to talk about what has happened, but it is important that you tell us everything you can remember. If you don’t understand any words the police use, or what they are telling you, please ask them to try and explain it to you in a different way. We will endeavour to treat you with sensitivity and respect.

When you report to the police, the police will want the clothing you were wearing at the time of the assault. You will need to tell the police where this clothing is, and an officer will advise you of the best action to take.

Medical examination:

You may be asked to give your permission to being examined by a doctor.

Why? The doctor will be looking for forensic evidence as well as to see if you need treatment for any injuries. The doctor will have been specially trained for this kind of examination and will understand that you need to be treated with care and sympathy.

Who? We will make every effort to respect any preference you might have as to the gender of the doctor who will see you. If this is not possible we will discuss the alternatives with you. You will have everything about the examination explained to you first. If anything doesn't make sense, please ask the doctor or police to explain it to you in a different way.

Where?The examination will happen in a special examination suite. Our examination suites, are often not located at police stations, they have a comfortable room to rest in, a medical examination room and a bathroom where you can have a shower after the medical examination.

Police interview

If you decide to report the assault, you will need to be prepared to give the specialist officer as much information, in as much detail as possible. The officer will understand that the interview is likely to be difficult for you. They should understand that you may need to take things slowly and have breaks when you need to. If you feel you need a break- please tell the officer. It is in everybody’s interests that you are as comfortable as possible during the interview. Otherwise your account may suffer by missing important details. Our specialist officers are trained to make sure you are treated tactfully and sensitively during this interview.

Normally the interview will be filmed using a discrete camera and recorded on video or DVD. If you are interviewed in this way, police can apply to have this played in court. However, you will have the option to make a written statement. This would be fully explained to you by the specially trained officer.

Will I have to go to court?

That’s up to you. If you do choose to go to court, please visit our going to court page for more information. If you choose not to go to court we will continue to support you.

  • Created: 20/04/2009 10:05:54 |
  • Modified: 18/08/2009 11:24:17

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