The Bridgeway is inclusive however you identify. We understand that your identity is important and unique to you, and that gender identity and sexual orientation journeys are always different and never clear-cut. Your personal situation and experiences may mean it feels especially hard for you to seek help after being raped or sexually assaulted. No matter what happened to you, where you were, or who did it – We can help 24/7.
Rape and Sexual Assault can happen to anyone. The Bridgeway is here to help anyone who has been Raped or Sexually Assaulted.
If you have been sexually assaulted or injured it is never your fault.
For gay and bisexual men and women who have been victims of assault or rape it is normal to feel confused and unsure about where to go for help especially because of the stereotypes society places on individuals about sex, strength and self protection.
Domestic abuse in the lesbian, bisexual, gay and transgender community is a serious issue. Research has shown that about 25% of LGBT people experience violent or threatening relationships with ex-partners.
It can be hard for LGBTQ+ rape, sexual assault or domestic violence victims to seek help because they may not want to disclose their sexuality to police or other organisations.
You may be feeling ashamed, embarrassed, isolated, scared and unsafe. You may be physically hurt with internal and/or external injuries or worried about HIV or sexually transmitted infections.
All Calls are Confidential – Call The Bridgeway on 0808 118 6432
We will meet you as an individual who is coming to us for support after being raped or sexually assaulted. We will ask you to tell us how you want to be called and what pronoun to use and to guide us in the language you want us to use about your body. We will listen to you carefully and respectfully, and do all that we can to meet your individual needs.
Sexual assault and rape can happen to anyone of any gender identity, sexual orientation, age or background. We know that prejudice and rape myths continue to exist and will support you in coping if you encounter them.
You can bring a friend, family member, support worker or another professional with you to The Bridgeway. We will work with you and them to ensure that we offer you the best support we can.
If you have been sexually assaulted recently and tell the police what has happened to you, they will offer to bring you to The Bridgeway for a forensic medical examination.
However, you can also come and have an examination without telling the police. The Bridgeway will store your samples in case you decide later that you do want to make a report.
When you arrive at The Bridgeway you’ll be met by a member of our specialist team. While you are here, they will make sure that you understand everything that is going on and ensure that the examination only happens if you want it to.
They will listen very carefully to what you say to them and will also notice what influence other people might be having on your decisions. You can change your mind about being examined at any time, including during the examination.
We know how important it is for you to feel in control of what happens to your body and we will do everything possible to support you in that.
When you are comfortable, a nurse or doctor will examine you to check that you are ok and look for DNA to support your case if you decide to report to the police. They will also talk to you about your sexual health.
The Bridgeway has female nurses and doctors. If you would prefer your examination to be provided by a nurse or doctor of a different gender we will try to arrange this as quickly as possible. Sometimes, it may mean waiting until the evening or the following day.
At The Bridgeway, we listen, believe and do not judge. No-one has the right to have sexual contact with another person against their will or when they are unable to give consent because they have taken alcohol or drugs.
Call The Bridgeway and we can discuss the risk with you, based on your specific situation. We can arrange a sexual health screening and may give you medication directly.
Injuries to the anus and vagina heal very quickly and it is unlikely that the assault will have caused any lasting physical damage. If you are sore it is a good idea to get checked out. This can be done at The Bridgeway, by your GP or at a sexual health clinic.
It is entirely your decision if you want to make a report to the police or not.
The LGBT Liaison Team are committed to improving relationships with, and access for, the LGBTQ+ communities and you may feel more confident in reporting to them.
You can call The Bridgeway for medical care and emotional support now, then decide about talking to police later.
You can come to The Bridgeway for a forensic medical examination by a specialist nurse or doctor. They will check you are OK and take samples which The Bridgeway can store in case you decide later that you want to speak to the police about what has happened to you.
You can also bring clothes bedding or other items for us to store if you think there may be DNA evidence on them.
If you do not feel able to speak to the police about what has happened to you, it is possible to give them information anonymously. A member of our specialist team will support you to create a statement and we can give that information to the police without providing them with any of your personal details.
Sometimes the police call us after receiving this kind of information and ask us to contact you to see if you would be willing to speak to them informally. We will never pressure you into this, but in the past, people have told us that this has helped them to have confidence that they will be believed and taken seriously. They have then decided to make an official report to the police.
We will offer to arrange support from an Independent Sexual Violence Adviser. If you decide to make a report to the police, they will advocate for you while your case is investigated and make sure that you receive regular updates from the police. They will also make sure that you are well supported if your case goes to court.
An Independent Sexual Violence Adviser can also help with practical things. They might contact an employer on your behalf, help you to arrange meetings to sort out benefits or housing, or simply be someone to call if something related to your experience is worrying you.