It Happens Here

Making Oxford a safe place for all people

Options After Sexual Violence

The following are explanations of some options that you have after sexual violence.

All of these options can be used at any time, and you can use as many of them as you like.

We will cover

  • Police
  • Forensics
  • Medical services
  • Helplines
  • College support
  • University support
  • Anonymous reporting


The Thames Valley Police can be contacted at 999. If you experience sexual violence, it is your choice on calling the police. If you do, call them as soon as possible. You can request a female or male officer and a friend or college welfare member can accompany you. If you report it, the police can take you to a Sexual Assault Referral Centre (SARC). More information on SARCs is below.

When reporting, you may take breaks. After you initially contact the police and report a serious sexual assault, a Specially Trained Officer (STO) will be allocated to you to support you. There are 14 in the Thames Valley Police and they are on call 24 hours a day. An STO will go with you to a SARC, stay with you through the forensic examination, and take a detailed account of the incident. In addition, the STO will advise you on options in facilitating your decision in pressing charges or other appropriate courses of action. They will stay in contact with you through the investigation and legal procedures and discuss special court measures and any witness care as well as pre-court familiarisation visits. They attend court with you and can also signpost you to external organisations.


Forensic evidence is collected at Sexual Assault Referral Centers (SARCs).  You can go to one without reporting to the police, and have evidence collected.  If you report to the police, they can also take you to one.  For more on SARCs, see the section below.

If you have experienced sexual violence and want evidence collected:

  • Do not wash.
  • Do not brush your teeth.
  • Do no have a cigarette.
  • Do not eat or drink, especially alcohol.
  • Do not change your clothes (if so, keep them)
  • Try not to go to the toilet.
  • Do not clear up the area of the incident.
  • Remember to take an extra set of clothing to a SARC with you if you can.
  • If you desire, a female doctor will facilitate the collection if possible.

Medical Services

Sexual Assault Referral Centres

Sexual Assault Referral Centres (SARC) are independent evidence collection and support centres. You can go to one and have evidence collected and not call the police or involve the police. Women, men, and children can use the SARC. They will have a specialist perform a forensic examination and they can give you crisis support for initial visits and arrange follow up appointments. They also provide independent advocacy and support with practical matters, telephone advise, and signposting to external services. There are two SARCs in the area:

Solace Centre – Slough

08455 197 638 (24 hr)

Solace Centre – Bletchley

08455 197 638 (24 hr.)

Other Medical Help

If you don’t choose to have evidence collected, you should still consider seeking medical attention.  The GUM Clinic at Churchill Hospital is the closest to central Oxford, and will be able to administer the morning after pill and discuss the possibility of anti-retroviral drugs, as well as future STI testing.

Churchill Hospital GUM Clinic

Old Road

1865 231231


There are a variety of helplines that you can call, although the times that they’re open will vary.  Helplines offer confidential support, and can do everything from listening to how your feeling and try to figure out what would help make you feel better to answering your questions and explaining what your options are and what other services you might want to access.

College Support

There are a lot of people you can talk to at your college.  The senior tutor, tutor for women, tutor for graduates, welfare tutors/deans/advisors, chaplains, porters, common room welfare officers,  peer supporters, and college doctors and nurses are all people who can offer you support and help you figure out what you need right now.  They can also

  • Work with college to change your room
  • Work with your tutors to make sure that you’re not being overwhelmed with work, and have the opportunity to take time off it you need it.
  • Accompany you to places like the GUM clinic, the police station, or meetings with other people in college.

University Support

The University Counselling Service offers free counselling to matriculated students.  You can find details about how to make an appointment on their website.  When you’re filling out the intake form, make sure to mention that you’re getting in touch with them because of sexual violence.

OUSU Student Advice Service offers impartial and confidential support for free. They can help you with the issues that affect your quality of life as a student from academic matters to harassment to accommodation to college discipline. They are an advice service providing information and advocacy. You can contact them at or 01865 288466.

Nightline is a listening service offering information and support for students by students throughout the night. They have drop in sessions at 16 Wellington Square or you can skype or call them at 01865 270270.

Anonymous Reporting

OUSU runs an anonymous incident reporting mechanism for cases of harassment or violence (sexual or otherwise). We encourage survivors to consider submitting an anonymous report of prejudice or discrimination, even if they choose not to do anything else. This allows you to make a record of what happened without including any identifying details about yourself or others. This will help the university to better understand the circumstances and needs of students, and lobby for service provision. Reports submitted via this form will remain totally anonymous and will not initiate any further investigation.

You can access the anonymous reporting form here.

You can also file a non-anonymous complaint by emailing OUSU Student Advice Service at

%d bloggers like this: