are available to men, women and children who live or have been raped or sexually assaulted within Cumbria. We are contactable 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year. We offer a safe and non-judgemental environment which focuses on the needs of you, the individual.
Telephone: 0808 118 6432
If you are in danger it is important that you call the Police on 999 in an emergency or 101 in a non-emergency
At The Bridgeway, our expert team of staff work to give you as much information as possible on the options available to you. We want to help you make your own informed decisions about your care and we will work to support you in this, whatever your decisions may be. Everyone who contacts us is treated with respect and not judged. All staff are specially trained to work with people who have experienced rape or sexual assault.
You can read more about each member of The Bridgeway team below.
The Bridgeway Centre Manager
The Bridgeway Manager's role is to make sure that people using The Bridgeway are getting a good service and the forensic integrity of The Bridgeway facilities is maintained. This is important when thinking about collecting evidence that may be later used in a police investigation. We work to allow for best evidence to be achieved in partnership with the police, when they are involved.
The manager and the team of crisis workers make sure that people contacting The Bridgeway are referred onto the services they need.
A crisis worker's role is to provide immediate support during your initial contact with The Bridgeway, whether you contact us directly, through a friend, the police or another professional. Our freephone number 0808 118 6432 is available 24/7 and is run by female crisis workers who can offer you support and advice about The Bridgeway and other services that are available.
If you are attending The Bridgeway for a forensic medical examination, at whatever time, a crisis worker will support you throughout your visit ensuring that your views, opinions and thoughts are respected and listened to by all. The crisis worker is there to support you in any way that you need; explaining the examination process, talking with you, or simply making you a drink and sitting with you. They will not pressure you into making any decisions and will make sure that your wishes are respected.
Medical examiners are doctors or nurses specially trained to assess individuals who have experienced rape or sexual assault. If you choose to be examined, a doctor or nurse will meet you at The Bridgeway. The doctor or nurse will fully explain the examination process and the examination will only proceed with your consent. The doctor or nurse can assess immediate medical needs, such as injuries, provide emergency contraception if needed and assess the potential risk of sexually transmitted infections. Where possible, they will provide treatment at The Bridgeway and they may refer you onto a sexual health clinic for follow-up care and treatment. They can talk to you about any concerns you may have.
The medical examiner can also look to document any injuries you have sustained and collect forensic evidential samples. These can be analysed and may be used later in a criminal investigation.
Independent Sexual Violence Advisors (ISVAs)
Our Independent Sexual Violence Advisors (ISVA), are specialist support workers who can assist and support you in the weeks and months after an assault. If you choose, they will help you throughout the court process from start to finish. They will support you, find out information for you, ask questions about progress of any legal actions and they can be there for you in court. Everybody who comes into The Bridgeway (Sexual Assault Referral Centre) will be offered the service of an ISVA. The service they can provide includes;
• Initial assessment of the support that you need
• Drawing up of a care plan and involvement of any other partner agencies required
• Confidential and impartial advice that is not linked to the police
• Regular and ongoing telephone contact
• Face to face meetings and support
• Help with advice on housing issues
• Detailed understanding of the court process and the criminal justice system
• Attendance with you at any police interviews or court proceedings
• Liaison between you, the police, the CPS and barristers acting on your behalf
• Emotional support and guidance
• Support in reporting your assault to the police if you first came as a self referral
• Assistance with Criminal Injuries Compensation