How can we help
Our Staff are specially trained to support you, whether the assault happened recently or in the past. You will always be believed and treated with the utmost dignity and respect.
Crisis Worker Support
Our team of Crisis Workers offer 24-hour telephone support, you can ring them at any time on 0300 123 6616 if you need advice following a sexual assault.
The Crisis Worker is your first point of contact at Treetops; they understand that you have been through a major trauma and personal crisis. They are non-judgmental and will always respect what you say. When contacting the service, the Crisis Workers can talk you through the processes and support available to you and refer or signpost you to a wide range of services, such as an Independent Sexual Violence Advisor (ISVA) and therapeutic support.
When attending Treetops, Crisis Workers act as your advocate and represent your best interests, they have received special training to support people who have experienced rape or sexual assault. They understand how important it is for your voice to be heard. It is their main responsibility to ensure you have all the information, time, and space you need to make any decisions about your immediate care. They also help to arrange any follow-up care you need. Crisis workers are completely independent from the police.
Forensic Medical Examination
If you have been sexually assaulted within the last 7 days, a Forensic Medical Examination will be offered to you. This collects forensic evidence which may help with the investigation of the assault. The examination is important because we want to look after your medical needs as well as collecting forensic evidence. It is best to have an examination as soon as possible after an assault as there is a better chance of collecting evidence that can identify the person who did it. It may be the last thing you feel like doing, but it is best to get it done straightaway.
A Sexual Offences Examiner (SOE) is a qualified forensic doctor or nurse, will carry out the examination. When a child under the age of 13 has been assaulted, a specialist children’s doctor (paediatrician) may also be involved in the examination at Treetops. We understand that you might feel uncomfortable, but every effort is made to make sure you understand what is happening to you. You can change your mind about being examined at any time, including during the examination.
We know how important it is for you to feel in control of what happens to your body and your Crisis Worker will do everything possible to support you in that.
There is a risk of pregnancy after a sexual assault, the Sexual Offences Examiner at Treetops can advise you on different types of Emergency Contraception and their effectiveness. This may be important if no contraception was used, it is unknown, or if a contraception method fails. We will discuss your needs when you visit Treetops SARC.
The Sexual Offences Examiner can provide emergency contraception at Treetops. Alternatively, Emergency Contraception can be provided by your pharmacy or GP. You can find more information about accessing Emergency Contraception here.
There is a small timeframe to take Emergency Contraception for it to be effective- the sooner you take it, the more effective it'll be. We can also, when relevant, refer you to a pregnancy advisory service.
Sexual Health Services
There is a risk of STI’s (Sexually Transmitted Infections) after sexual assault or rape. STI’s can affect men, women, or children. They often have no symptoms. If you come to Treetops, we can discuss your risk of STIs.
We will undertake a Hepatitis B and HIV risk-assessment to consider whether you should be given Post Exposure Prophylaxis (PEP) medication and or a Hepatitis B Vaccination. If indicated this can also be provided at Treetops.
You will also be offered an appointment at a Solent NHS Sexual Health clinic where specially trained Clinicians will help you with your sexual health needs. If you prefer, we can provide you with an STI self-swabbing kit for you to take away and do at home. If you have been started on any medications or vaccination courses, your follow ups will be at the Sexual Health Clinic.
Young Persons Independent Sexual Violence Advisor (YPISVA)
If you are under 18, we can offer support from a Young Person’s Independent Sexual Violence Advisor (ISVA) to ensure you receive the best possible care. The Young Person’s ISVA can offer emotional and practical support, advocacy and assistance with health appointments and attend meetings with clients after the initial visit to the SARC.
They are also your able to support young people in their contact with the Police and help them through the court process if the case has gone to court.
We are contactable 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year on 0300 123 6616.
It is important to remember that you are not to blame. There is no right or wrong way to respond to what has happened. Common feelings after rape or sexual assault include self-blame, guilt, fear, anxiety, shame, and anger. These are natural emotional responses and usually reduce gradually over time.
When your safety has been violated, it is important that you begin to feel safe and able to make your own decisions. We aim to give you the information you need to take control and make the best choices for you. It is your right to take the process at Treetops at your own pace, stopping at any time you feel you need to. If at any time you don’t understand what is happening, please ask and a member of the team will be happy to explain more thoroughly what is happening.
A Sexual Offences Interview Trained (SOIT) Officer will talk to you and make sure you understand what is going on at each stage. A SOIT is a plain-clothes police officer who has specialist training in the investigation of rape and serious sexual offences. They will be assigned to your case with the responsibility of investigating and securing all the evidence. Your dedicated SOIT will be a single point of contact throughout your case. The SOIT will support and guide you through every stage, including the investigation and going to court. They will keep you informed about how the investigation is going and answer your questions. They will provide care, support, and information in a sensitive and compassionate manner. The SOIT will offer to bring you to Treetops for your forensic medical examination. They will also take you home or to a place of safety. The Hampshire & Isle of Wight Constabulary website has more detailed information about what happens if you decide to report an assault or rape.
If you are over the age of 18, you don’t have to report to the police to access the services of the Treetops. If you are not sure whether you want to report to the police, you can still have a forensic medical examination. This collects evidence that might help your case in court - but still gives you time to think about your options. We can store the collected forensic evidence samples for up to 2 years, in case you decide that you do want to report. Please be aware that we will not be able to take forensic samples unless you are considering going to the police, this is in line with the Human Tissue Act. However, we can refer and signpost you to certain onward services for support regardless of you reporting to the Police.