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Should I come forward to report to police?

Any incident of rape or sexual assault should be reported to the police, but we understand that not knowing what to do may be frightening.

We will explain what happens next to you when you do make a report and hope you find the information reassuring.

If you feel unable to report to the police, you can still seek help by contacting Bedfordshire’s Sexual Assault Referral Centre (SARC), the Emerald Centre. The Emerald Centre is a holistic specialist service for people who have been raped or sexually assaulted.

The team can help you recover, physically and emotionally, from your difficult experience. They can also point you towards partner agencies which can provide counselling and other support services.

What will happen if you report directly to police?

A specially trained officer will speak to you to find out what happened to you. You will be visited by an Initial Contact Officer who specialises in attending rape and sexual assault cases. This may be where you report from, at your home, or somewhere you feel comfortable.

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If a medical examination is required, they will accompany you to The Emerald Centre. They will not be present during the examination. They will later be responsible for obtaining a detailed statement from you, either in writing or by video.

While at the SARC, victims can give their first account of the incident at their own pace and convenience. If the crime has taken place within the forensic window, a medical examination will be carried out by a specialist doctor at the centre.

We understand you may find it difficult to discuss intimate details and to relive what has happened, but our officers will do their best to put you at ease.

You will also be assigned an Independent Sexual Violence Advisor (ISVA) who will support you through to the conclusion of your case and can also accompany you throughout the trial stages should your case progress to court.

The Emerald investigating officer in your case will keep in regular contact with you, ensuring that you are kept updated on the progress of your case.

Going to court

This officer is then responsible for presenting the case to the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) who will make a decision if any charges will be made and if appropriate, they will progress the case for trial. If your case goes to trial, your designated officer will arrange a pre-trial visit to court for you so that you can familiarise yourself with the surroundings.

Although it is possible that some details about your case my be reported on by the media from court, all victims of sexual offences are granted lifelong anonymity and you will not be identified unless you choose to waive this.

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