To Involve the Police?

Involving the Police

Making a report to the police may seem scary; you may feel anxious about what the process will be or fear that you may not be believed - this is not the case. Cumbria Police have experienced police officers who work with individuals who have experienced rape or sexual abuse throughout the reporting process. The Bridgeway staff can support you in making your initial report to the police or if you feel you want to report directly to the police, you can do so by calling 101 - in an emergency always dial 999.

If you wish for the police to be involved, officers will meet with you and discuss the reporting process, taking what is termed a first account of the incident to document details of the case such as the nature of the assault, description of perpetrator, location of the assault etc.

If the assault was in the last 10 days, then evidence such as documenting any injuries or taking of samples like swabs from your skin can be done at a medical-forensic examination. If you have not made contact with The Bridgeway yourself, the officers will be able to talk through the process and work with you to determine if an assessment is appropriate. If you are happy for an assessment to take place, the police will then contact the nurse or doctor and crisis worker who will meet you at The Bridgeway.

The Bridgeway team will make contact with other agencies, with your consent and on your behalf, so that you can access other support services such as counselling, Independent Sexual Violence Advisor services, sexual health services, mental health services and other relevant agencies, where appropriate to your circumstances.

As part of the process of reporting to the police, they may suggest that your interview is videoed, so that you do not have to repeat your story if your case goes to court. This can be done in the special facilities at The Bridgeway centre on the Penrith Hospital site, or in a special facility closer to where you live.

Click here to visit the Cumbria Police website.

 

Not Involving the Police

The Bridgeway can be contacted whether you decide to report to the police or not through our 24/7 number. You will be able to talk to a crisis worker at any time. You can also access the same support from The Bridgeway team through another service, such as your GP.

You may not feel ready or able to report to the police but feel that you want to take some action. There are a few ways you can do this. Any of the actions below will only be taken with your consent:

  • Examination - If the assault was in the last 10 days, then evidence can be collected, such as documenting any injuries or taking of samples like swabs from your skin. This evidence can then be stored at The Bridgeway, allowing you time to think about whether you would like to report the incident formally to the police. 
  • Intelligence sharing - The Bridgeway staff can share details of the assault, such as the location or a description of perpetrator with the police. This can be done anonymously. Sharing of this sort of information can help the police to identify trends in assaults and may help prevent it happening to other people.

The Bridgeway team will make contact with other agencies, with your consent and on your behalf, so that you can access other support services such as counselling, Independent Sexual Violence Advisor services, sexual health services, mental health services and other relevant agencies, where appropriate to your circumstances.

We understand that confidentiality is important to you. Information may be shared with other agencies such as your GP, where you have given permission to do so. All other information will be held in confidence unless there are concerns regarding child protection or ongoing abuse of a vulnerable adult. In such cases, we have a responsibility to share some information with other agencies such as social care.