Galop can help if you’ve been the victim of sexual abuse. Sexual abuse can happen once or several times and involves unwanted contact of a sexual nature between two or more people. Sometimes this abuse happens within families or intimate partnerships. Sometimes this abuse is acquaintance or date rape, while other sexual assaults are part of homophobic or transphobic attacks made by strangers or by someone you know. No matter when or how it occurs, sexual abuse is serious.
Is This Abuse?
Unwanted pressure to have sex, being given drugs and/or alcohol that lessen your ability to consent to sex, and unwelcome touching of your body in a sexual manner are all types of sexual abuse. The current age of sexual consent is 16.
Rape and sexual assault aren’t limited to unwelcome sexual contact between a man and a woman – anyone can perpetrate or be the victim of sexual crime. It is never your fault if someone has abused you or pressured you into sex. If you feel that you have experienced sexual abuse at any point in your life, you can seek help from Galop and can report the abuse to the police.
Will The Police Really Care?
You might be worried that police won’t take LGBT sexual abuse seriously, or that you’ll be outed if you report abuse. You might feel like there aren’t people and organisations will help LGBT people who’ve been the victims of sexual violence. Luckily, none of these things are true.
The police and the Crown Prosecution Service (the CPS) have guidelines stating how they must address sexual crimes. All people are given equal rights and protections, regardless of one’s sexuality or gender identity. The law recognizes all abuse of a sexual nature as equally serious, and instructs police officers to act accordingly. Sapphire Units within the Metropolitan Police deal specifically with crimes of a sexual nature. There are also LGBT liaison officers in all police boroughs who can offer you extra support.
How Can Galop Help?
Galop can help you find the support that you need, whether that’s assistance with reporting a crime or helping you to feel safer where you live. We can work with you to contact the Havens (sexual assault referral centres), to find counsellors trained in sexual abuse issues, or to reach other groups that might be able to help you. We can help you communicate with the police and can answer your questions about the law, policing and LGBT rights.
Everything you tell us is confidential. We won’t pass along anything you say to the police or any other agency unless you say we can. If you’d like to make a report to the police but don’t want to deal with them directly, we can help you make a report. We’ll ask you some questions about the incident, and we’ll send this information over to the police. You can choose to give the police your name, or you can stay anonymous.
We can advise you about all sorts of things related to LGBT abuse, homophobia, transphobia, and your safety, including problems you may have with the police.
Even if you don’t want to report anything to the police, it’s important to give us a call or report abuse on our website. That way, we can have an accurate record of LGBT people’s experiences of sexual abuse. This will help us work for more and better services for LGBT victims. Unless police and other agencies know the true extent of homophobic, transphobic, and sexual abuse, services and strategies won’t be developed to tackle these kinds of crime.
What Else Can I Do?
If you’ve recently experienced an assault, a Haven can talk to you about having a medical exam, collecting evidence, and keeping yourself safe. You don’t have to give anyone your name, and can call a Haven directly if it’s an emergency. Going to a Haven doesn’t mean that you have to involve the police. If you’d rather not contact the Havens or the police, we can talk to them for you.
It’s important to remember that you can get help with sexual abuse that happened in your past. We can help you talk to the police if you’d like to make a report about abuse you experienced months or even years ago. Galop can direct you towards counsellors and organisations that work with LGBT people who experienced abuse as young people.
The Havens www.thehavens.org.uk or text HAVENS to 64118
The Havens are a 24/7 hospital based service offering care to all victims of rape and sexual assault in London: women, men and children.
Survivors www.survivorsuk.org 0845 122 1201
Survivors provides information, support and counseling for men who have experienced sexual assault or rape. This is not an exclusively LGBT service.
Stonewall Housing www.stonewallhousing.org 020 7359 5767
Stonewall Housing provides supported housing advice and support to LGBT youth and adults.