Free and confidential help to victims of crime (including domestic abuse, rape and sexual assault), witnesses, their family, friends and anyone else affected. The national SupportLine number is 0808 168 9111, and the number for the Regional Victim Assessment and Referral Centre (VARC) office covering Luton is below.Call us
“A sexual assault can range from inappropriate touching, to a life-threatening attack, rape or any other penetration of the mouth, vagina or anus. It's a myth that victims of sexual assault always look battered and bruised.
If you have been sexually assaulted, remember that it wasn’t your fault. It doesn’t matter what you were wearing, where you were or whether you had been drinking. A sexual assault is always the fault of the perpetrator”.
Sexual abuse can be a part of domestic abuse, where a person is forced to engage in sexual activity, watch sexual acts or perform in degrading ways. Rape and sexual assault are crimes, whether or not they take place within marriage or between people who are or have been intimate partners, or family members.
If you’re under 18 and you have been manipulated by someone into doing sexual things for them, or for someone else’s benefit then this is called child sexual exploitation (CSE) and it is against the law. If you are concerned a child or young person is at risk of or experiencing sexual abuse through exploitation contact Bedfordshire Police Child Sexual Exploitation team or Luton Safeguarding Children's Board Rapid Intervention And Assessment Team on 01582 547653.
Support for victims of sexual abuse
If it is an emergency dial 999. If you are badly injured, go to your local A&E unit; this may be the Luton and Dunstable Hospital.
Bedfordshire police have a trained, dedicated team who will contact you and offer support and guidance; for more see their website page on Sexual Assault.
Anyone of any age or gender can contact the following national support organisations: Rape Crisis, the National Domestic Violence Helpline (24 hours a day) or the Rape and Sexual Abuse Support Centre.
Locally, the Hope Programme offers support to women and men across the county over the age of 13 through a number of safe and secure locations. Support includes emotional support, 1-2-1 counselling, mentoring and training. The Hope helpline, 0300 365 1045, is available from 8am to 10pm (callers out of those hours will receive a reply between 8am - 6pm the following day). Non-abusing partners and family members are also supported. Follow the Hope Programme on Twitter.
Other organisations aimed at specific groups (eg children, LGBT community) are listed at the bottom of this page.
The Luton & Dunstable Hospital department of Genito Urinary Medicine offers support and health advice for those who have suffered rape or sexual assault, and no referral is necessary. Your GP or another health professional can offer support and give advice and guidance.
The Survivors Trust works with people who are victims or survivors of rape, sexual violence and childhood sexual abuse.
The NSPCC has produced a booklet on protecting a child from sexual abuse, and what to do if it does happen.
Confidential women only service including advice and support around domestic abuse, forced marriage, honour based issues. Also runs a Young Women's Programme and Freedom programme and support for parents.Call us Email us
Rape Crisis England & Wales is a feminist organisation that exists to promote the needs of women and girls who have experienced sexual violence, to improve services to them and to work towards the elimination of sexual violence. They operate a national Rape Crisis helpline and can also signpost to local service.Call us Email us
Free, confidential 24hr helpline for women experiencing domestic violence. Translation facilities and a service for callers who are deaf or hard of hearing.Call us
Confidential, non-judgmental emotional support for people experiencing feelings of distress or despair (including suicidal thoughts), 24 hours a day.Call us Email us
Free and confidential 24hr support for women and men over 13 years old who have been raped, sexually assaulted or suffered childhood sexual abuse.Call us
National organisation providing information, support and counselling for men who have been raped or sexually abused.Call us
Dedicated to the healing and empowerment of survivors of sexual violence.Call us
Charity seeking to end abuse of children in the UK. Advice and support for children, adults and professionals. The number for children to call is shown below, and the number for adults with concerns is 0808 800 5000Call us Email us
Your call will be passed to a Specialist team who can also offer advice and support. Always use 999 in an emergency.Call us