Call 999 if a crime is in progress or you are in immediate danger.
Call 101 the police non-emergency number to report a rape or sexual assault or to provide information about a crime.

What to do if you have been raped or sexually assaulted

Reporting a rape or sexual assault

If you have been the victim of rape or another form of sexual violence it can be difficult to talk about it. However, you don’t have to suffer in silence. The police and other organisations, like Hope, are here to help.

The decision to report the crime is yours. Some people say that reporting and seeking justice helped them to recover and regain a sense of control over their lives.

Reporting  sexual violence to police can be done in a number of ways: by phone, at a police station, via a third party, Crimestoppers, directly or anonymously.

If the crime has recently happened

  • Keep the clothes you were wearing, don’t wash them but put them in a clean bag. The police may need them as evidence for the investigation
  • Try not to shower, brush your teeth and hair, as there may be evidence that the police can use.

Bedfordshire Police have a specialist unit for the investigation of sexual offences and you can ask to speak to a female officer or staff member. More information on how the police investigate rape and sexual offences can be found at:

If you don’t want to report it to the police

The Emerald Centre is Bedfordshire’s Sexual Assault Referral Centre (SARC), a dedicated specialist centre providing a comprehensive service to female and male victims of sexual crimes. People can access these services either as a self-referral or via Bedfordshire Police.

The SARC can offer you medical support and collect evidence that can be used later. There is more information about the SARC at
Phone: 01234 897052

You can also access Hope’s therapy services directly from the SARC if you wish.

What happens next?


The police (if you have reported the crime to them) or the SARC staff will:

  • Arrange for you to have a medical examination and treatment for any injuries you have.
  • Give you support and advice
  • Explain what happens next

The police and the SARC can put you in touch with an Independent Sexual Violence Adviser (ISVA) who will give you help through the investigative and judicial processes and to access other services such as counselling, housing and health.