Considering Reporting to the Police?
Devon and Cornwall Constabulary are committed to supporting those who have experienced rape or serious sexual assault. They have a team of specially trained officers (SOLO's) who can assist you through the criminal justice process, if that is what you decide you want to do.
We appreciate that not everyone affected sexual offences will necessarily want to talk to the police right away but we still encourage you to make contact with our Independent Sexual Violence Advisor (ISVA) if you need more information. The following information may assist your decision making.
If you decide to report to the police: -
You can report to a police station or we would suggest that you you can phone the police who will arrange for a sexual offences liaison officer (SOLO) to come and talk to you. You can have a friend or family member present when you meet the police. Please call 999 in an emergency and 101 in a non-emergency.
You can choose whether to speak to a male or female SOLO, who will be your single point of contact with the police. They will keep you updated about the investigation.
They will ask you the following initial questions:
- Your name and address.
- When and where you were assaulted.
- What happened to you
- Whatever you can tell us about the attacker (what they looked or sounded like, what they were wearing, how old they were, etc.), or even if you know who they are. We want to be able to pass on a description so that our police officers on patrol can be looking out for them.
We realise it might be difficult or embarrassing to talk about what has happened, but it is important that you tell the police everything you can remember. If you don’t understand any words the police use, or what they are telling you, please ask them to try and explain it to you in a different way. You will always be treated with sensitivity and respect.
When you report to the police, the police will want the clothing you were wearing at the time of the sexual assault. You will need to tell the police where this clothing is, and an officer will advise you of the best action to take.
Medical examination and the formal interview process:
You may be asked to give your permission to being examined by a specialist forensic medical examiner. This is to retrieve vital DNA evidence after the assault.
Once a SOLO has made initial contact with you it will be necessary to undergo a digitally recorded interview in a specialist until separate from the police station. If you decide to report the assault, (you will need to be prepared to give the SOLO as much information, in as much detail as possible). The officer will understand that the interview is likely to be difficult for you. They should understand that you may need to take things slowly and have breaks when you need to. If you feel you need a break- please tell the officer. It is in everybody’s interests that you are as comfortable as possible during the interview. Otherwise your account may suffer by missing important details. The SOLO are trained to make sure you are treated tactfully and sensitively during this interview.
Normally the interview will take place in a specialist unit separate from the police station. It will be recorded using a discrete camera and microphones and recorded on DVD. If you are interviewed in this way, the police can apply to have this played in court if the case gets to trial. However, you will have the option to make written statement of your evidence. This would be fully explained to you by your SOLO.
Will I have to go to Court?
That’s up to you. If the results of the police investigation pass certain tests regarding evidence, your case may go to court. At all stages throughout the investigation process your ISVA will keep you informed and supported. If you choose not to go to court WRSAC will continue to support you.