After an assault, it can be hard to know what to do. Some people feel overwhelmed by feelings. Some people feel numb. There is no one right thing to do after an assault. It is a good idea to go to a place you feel safe, and do what you need to take care of yourself.
Suggestions for things you can do after a sexual assault:
Talk to someone you trust. Friend, parent, counsellor or someone else you trust to be supportive and non-judgmental. Here are some options:
- Call the Victoria Sexual Assault Centre or Crisis line in your area. They can offer you support and information and you don’t have to tell them anything you don’t want to. You can contact our Service Access Line at 250-383-3232 or
- Access the Victoria Sexual Assault Clinic: Open 24/7 to those who have experienced sexual assault in the last week. You can contact us at our Service Access Line at 250-383-3232, or via the Vancouver Island Crisis Line at 1-888-494-3888.
- Tell a Trusted Adult: Parents, teachers, or another adult you trust can help you find the help you need and support you in the process. Make a list of adults in your life that you think could help you. Talk to those that you think can help you.
- Tell a Trusted Friend: A trusted friend is a good listener, non-judgmental and will keep your story private. A friend will help you to get help. A good friend will help you not feel alone.
- Talk to a Counsellor: They are trained to help people deal with their problems. Find a counsellor you trust and feel safe with. You can find counsellors at sexual assault centres, schools, community centers, youth services and other places. Phone a crisis line to find counsellors in your area.
- 24 hour Community Resource: You can contact them anonymously to find out about services or just to talk.
Vancouver Island Crisis Line: 1-888-494-3888
Kids Help Phone: 1-800-668-6868
Online forum, live chatting, and e-counselling: www.youthspace.ca
- Get medical attention for possible injuries, sexually transmitted infections, and/or pregnancy.
- Write down what happened to you. Writing about what happened can help you deal with feelings. If you decide to report later, it can help you recall what happened and how it affected you.
- You have the option to report the assault to the police. Call a sexual assault centre or a crisis line to find out about the process and how you can get support. You don’t have to report right away.
- If you think you might want to report to the police, you have the option to get a “forensic” exam to collect evidence that can be used in court. This evidence can be really important if you decide to make a police report later. If you decide not to, the evidence won’t be used. The evidence must be collected soon after the assault, usually within 72 hours. It is suggested that you don’t shower, go to the washroom, eat, or get rid of your clothes. Get a friend or Sexual Assault Centre worker to support you.
Important Note: Just because there may not be enough evidence to proceed with criminal charges, or the person is found not guilty doesn’t mean the assault didn’t happen. You still have a right to get support.