The restrictions on movement introduced to stop the spread of Covid-19 have created another crisis: a rise in experiencing sexual violence or abuse. Below is some guidance for members and reps.
For people who are currently experiencing sexual violence or abuse, or who are at risk of it, the current lockdown situation may worsen their suffering, as they may be at home for my time with an abuser.
Sexual violence and abuse are never acceptable. If you are experiencing or feel that you are at risk of sexual violence or abuse, there is help available for you.
For those who have survived sexual violence or abuse, some of the measures that have been put in place, like the orders to stay at home, may be increasing anxiety and other mental health challenges. If you are finding that your mental health is in a heightened worse state because of prior sexual violence or abuse help is available.
What is sexual abuse?
Sexual violence and abuse can cover several different behaviours, including but not limited to:
• child sexual abuse
• sexual assault
• being pressurised or coerced into sexual activity you do not want
• sexual exploitation
• grooming for sexual purposes
• female genital mutilation
• sexual harassment, both online and offline
Sexual abuse can also be image based- for example the creation of sexual images and videos without your consent, or the sharing of private images and videos.
Are Sexual Assault Referral Centres still open?
Yes. Sexual Assault referral centres are still open. They will provide services either in person or remotely, depending on a person’s needs.
These centres are specialist services which provide free of charge advice and support for anyone who has been raped or sexually assaulted, in a safe and private environment. They provide interviews and forensic examinations, and some offer sexual health and counselling services. You can find a Sexual Assault Referral Centre near you on the NHS website.
Where can I get help?
If you are in immediate danger call 999– the police will respond to emergency calls
If you are in danger and cannot talk on the phone, call 999 then press 55 which allows the police to assist you without you needing to speak.
If you wish to seek help, the following services offer free, confidential and independent support. You can seek help now. It does not matter when he sexual abuse or sexual violence happened to you.
Victim supportline have a 24/7 supportline for any victim of a crime or who has been a witness to a crime.
Telephone: 0808 1689 111
Rape crisis South London runs a national helpline offering support, information and referral details.
Telephone: 0808 802 9999
Phone line hours: every day: 12:00-14:30 and 19:00-21:30
Rape Crisis Live Chat
Rape Crisis runs a live chat service for women and girls.
Live chat (for women and girls over 16): rapecrisis.org.uk/get-help/live-chat-helpline/about-the-live-chat-helpline/
The Survivors Trust
The Survivors Trust provides confidential information, advice and support for women, men and young people, their parents or carers or partners via a helpline and by email.
Telephone: 08088 010818
Phone line hours: Monday-Thursday 10-6 and Friday 10-2
National Male Survivor Helpline and Online Service
The National Male Survivor Helpline is a confidential helpline for male victims of sexual violence and abuse. They also provide emotional support via telephone, text and email.
Telephone: 0808 800 5005
Phone line hours: Monday, Wednesday, Friday: 9:00am to 5:00pmTuesday and Thursday: 8:00am to 8:00pmSaturday: 10:00am to 2:00pm
Text: 07860 027573
National Male Rape and Sexual Abuse webchat support service
Webchat hours: Monday-Sunday 12-8
Galop – for members of the LGBT+ community
Galop runs a specialist helpline for members of the LGBT+ community who have experienced sexual violence or sexual abuse.
Telephone: 0800 999 5428
NAPAC (National Association for People Abused in Childhood)
NAPAC offers support to adult survivors of childhood abuse and support for those who work with them. It offers a support email service for those who would prefer to ask for support in writing.
Telephone: 0808 801 0331
Opening hours: Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays: 10am to 4pm; Tuesdays and Thursdays: 2pm–9pm
I am worried about hurting someone else.
If you are worried that you may commit sexual abuse or sexual violence or are worried about someone else’s behaviour you can contact Stop It Now.
Telephone: 0808 1000 900
If you are worried about your behaviour at home the Respect Phoneline can help you to manage your behaviour.
Telephone: 0808 8024040