What is sexual abuse?
Sexual violence and abuse can be defined as any behaviour perceived to be of a sexual nature which is unwanted and takes place without consent or understanding.
Anyone can be a victim of rape or sexual assault, no matter what age they are and regardless of whether they are male or female.
Rapes and sexual assaults can be committed by someone you know. That includes members of your family or an acquaintance. Rapes and sexual assaults can also be committed by strangers. You can also be raped or sexually assaulted by a partner - someone you are in a relationship with.
We refer to rape, sexual assault and sexual abuse as sexual violence. This is because they are violent acts which violate and humiliate people. They hurt the victim physically, emotionally and psychologically. They are never about love or affection; they are about violence, domination, power, aggression and humiliation. During rape or assault a person’s right to be self-empowered and sexually self-determined is completely denied. Such a violation takes away the control we expect to have over our bodies and our lives.
Incest, sexual domestic violence, trafficking and sexual exploitation, female genital mutilation, ritual abuse, forced marriage, crimes in the name of honour, sexual intimidation, coercion or harassment, whether physical or verbal.
At a Local Level in Central Bedfordshire:
In 2010-2011 approximately 50% of reported incidents of rape / serious sexual assault were committed by a partner or previous partner
40% by a known acquaintance
Less than 10% by a stranger
Rape in marriage was criminalised as recently as 1982 in Scotland and 1991 in England. Before these dates a woman had no legal protection for the crime of rape perpetrated against her by her husband. This is no longer the case.
You have the right to live your life free from fear, violence and abuse. You may feel frightened, humiliated and isolated. REMEMBER - You are not to blame and you are not alone. Sexual abuse is about power and control. You don’t have to put up with it! A woman should always have the right to say no to sex, regardless of whether she has previously had consensual sex with the man or not. Forced intercourse within marriage or a relationship is still rape.
SARAC (Sexual Abuse Risk Assessment Conference)
The SARAC is a meeting that takes place every month where people from different agencies come together to discuss high risk cases relating to people who have been sexual abused or people who are at risk of sexual abuse.
If your case has been put forward for discussion at a SARAC, it is because it is believed that you could be at risk of serious harm from sexual abuse. At the SARAC, different agencies come together to pool their knowledge and make a plan to help keep you and your family safe. The SARAC will respect your right to privacy and confidentiality. Any information resulting from the meeting will be kept secure and not shared with anyone who is not involved in your case.
SARAC Victim Leaflet (PDF 82KB)
The Emerald Centre – Sexual Assault Referral Centre (SARC)
The Emerald Centre Sexual Assault Referral Centre (SARC) is committed to providing a non-judgmental caring and sensitive service, which meets the needs of victims of rape and sexual assault. It has developed strong partnership working between health services, police and a huge range of support services to provide a comprehensive approach to the needs of victims of sexual violence.
The Emerald Centre is a dedicated centre providing an extensive service to men and women aged 13 years and over who have been raped or sexually assaulted. They offer a safe and welcoming service, which focuses on individual needs.
To find out more about The Emerald Centre click here Emerald Centre
Black Women's Rape Action Project and Women against Rape
Crossroads Women's Centre, 230a Kentish Town Road, London NW5 2AB
tel: 020 7482 2496 (Mon to Fri 1.30-4pm)
email: email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org
CIS'ters (Childhood Incest Survivors)
PO Box 119, Eastleigh SO50 92F
tel: 023 8033 8080 (Sat 10am-12 midday; answerphone at other times)
Provides help and support for adult women who suffered incest as a child. Organises workshops and conferences to raise awareness on the issues surrounding incest, particularly mental distress
Oxford Sexual Abuse and Rape Crisis Centre
PO Box 20, Oxford OX4 1DY
Freephone: 0800 783 6294 (Mon, Thurs 6.30-9pm; Fri 11.30am-2pm; Sun 6-8.30pm)
tel: 01865 726 295
Rape Crisis (England and Wales)
BCM Box 4444, London WC1N 3XX
National Freephone helpline: 0808 802 9999 (12 -12.30 pm, 7 - 9.30 pm every day of the year)
Lists local organisations throughout England and Wales with contact details, services offered and opening times. Services are available to women who have been sexually abused at any time in their lives
AMSOSA (Adult Male Survivors of Sexual Abuse)
161 Victoria Rd, Swindon SN1 3BU
tel (office): 0845 430 9372
helpline: 0845 430 9371 (weekdays 10am-4pm; Wed 7-9pm)
email: via website
Helpline support and web forum for non-offending adult male survivors of childhood or adult sexual abuse
PO Box 124, Newhaven BN9 9TQ
tel: 01273 510 447
Provides one-to-one counselling, therapeutic groups and couple counselling to men (age 18+) who have experienced sexual abuse at any time in their lives
Ground floor, 34 Gt James St, London WC1N 3HB
helpline: 0845 122 1201 (Mon, Tues, Thurs 7-10pm)
tel: 020 7404 6234
Provides support for men who have been raped or sexually abused. Helpline takes calls from the whole of the UK. Also provides face-to-face counselling and support groups in the London area
Stop it Now !
Bordesley Hall, The Holloway, Alvechurch, Birmingham, B48 7QA
helpline: 0808 1000 900 (Mon-Thurs 9am - 9pm; Fri 9am - 7pm)
confidential email support line: email@example.com
Stop it Now! has a confidential freephone helpline for people struggling with sexual thoughts and behaviours towards children. The helpline will also support anyone with a concern, including the parents and carers of children and young people with worrying sexual behaviour, and friends and family worried about the behaviour of another adult.
Action for Children
tel: 0300 123 2112
Voluntary organisation whose services include specialist treatment centres for sexually abused children