If you report a rape assault in the UK the procedure at a police station will usually follow a set pattern. The first priority or the police will be to look after the victims immediate needs and wellbeing.
The investigation process will begin with forensic evidence collection, which will aim to provide proof that sexual intercourse did take place. Collecting any available DNA is crucial.
To assist the police in the course of these investigations you should not wash, eat or drink, change your clothes or clear away anything from the scene of the incident.
After the forensic examination has taken place the police will want to take a statement and this has to be a full account of what happened including details which you may prefer not to disclose, such as how much you had to drink and whether your behaviour left anything to be desired. It is much better to get the full story told at this point rather than concealing it only for it to emerge later.
Be prepared for the process at the police station to take several hours and to include you being asked intimate questions. It has to be completely accurate as it may well be used by the Crown Prosecution Service in the preparation for a court case. The statement may well be filmed.
Once they have interviewed you and have completed their statement taking, then they will decide whether to arrest and interview the alleged attacker.
The main priority for the police in the initial stages is the safety of the victim and therefore, you will first be seen by a uniformed officer before a Sexual Offence Liaison Officer will be called for who is specially trained to deal with victims of rape.
The investigation into the rape assault may take up to 18 months, if more than one offender is to be questioned this period could be longer.
The Crown Prosecution Service known as the CPS in England & Wales or the Procurator Fiscal in Scotland will ultimately make a decision as to whether to prosecute the offender(s). Both agencies are part of the Ministry of Justice have a team of barristers and lawyers who determine the suitability of each and every case for a potential court trial in the UK.
SHOULD YOU MAKE A COMPENSATION CLAIM? The timing of any compensation claim is key as you do not want to undermine the ongoing investigation. You have 2 years from the assault (usually) to make your government compensation claim. We would urge you to get legal advice on your claim before making an application.
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