In our webpages we have shared information about our Sexual Violence and Misconduct Support Service. Here we reinforce those messages as well as aim to provide you with other support options from the University, Aber SU and Local services. Please remember that you can get support, even if you don’t want to report it to the Police or make a formal complaint to the University.
Where to Start
Tell yourself: No matter what, it’s not your fault. Sometimes the first person a survivor needs to disclose to is themselves. Too often survivors can internalise messages that it wasn’t “so bad” or was somehow their fault.
Share with someone you trust: this is never easy, but consider sharing with a friend, a personal tutor, or your resident adviser if you live on-campus. Let them know what you need.
Seek medical care: Even if there are no obvious injuries or you don’t want to report the assault to the police, it is important to seek medical attention if the assault just happened. Staff in Student Services and in particular one of our Sexual Violence Liaison Officers (SVLO) can help you with that process. If it’s out-of-hours (5pm-9am) then our Security and Residence Life teams can also provide sensitive support and assistance.
Connect with support: Contact our Sexual Violence and Misconduct Support Service. One of our Sexual Violence Liaison Officers (SVLO) will be ready to listen to you. They can help you access resources and make an informed decision about next steps.
What to do Next
Immediately after the event
If you feel like you or someone else may still be at risk, or you are injured or need medical assistance, call:
University Security 01970 622649
If you are not at risk, find somewhere safe and warm and call somebody you trust to support you. If you are in halls of residence this could be your Residence Assistant if you do not want to contact friends or family. You do not have to disclose what has happened until you feel ready, but find someone who can be with you so you’re not alone.
You don’t have to make a report to the police, and survivors often need time before making that decision.
If you think you do want to make a report, or you might want to in the future, preserving evidence can help the police with their investigation.
The Sexual Assault Referral Centre (SARC) in Aberystwyth can help preserve evidence and store it until you have made your decision about informing the police.
To preserve evidence try not to:
- Use the toilet or discard underwear or sanitary products
- Wash, shower, bathe or shave
- Wash your hands
- Remove, wash, discard or destroy clothing worn, or bedding and towels used at the time of the incident or subsequent to it
- Drink or eat anything, including non-essential medication
- Clean your teeth
- Disturb the scene or allow other people or animals to enter area where the incident took place, where possible.
- Non-physical evidence, such as relevant texts, social media messages and emails should be preserved.
Reporting the incident to the police
If you decide to report the incident to the police, or think you might want to, a Sexual Violence Liaison Officer (SVLO) here at Aberystwyth can talk you through what will happen. They will not judge or blame you. They will listen, offer support and advice.
If you decide to attend a Sexual Assault Referral Centre (SARC) or police station directly to report a recent incident, that is, one which occurred in the last 7 days, it is important to take any clothing worn at the time of the incident, any bedding or towels which were used at the time, and where possible, keep these sealed in a clean plastic or paper bag. The University Security Team can also help by securing the place where the incident took place, if this is on campus.
Our University Security can assist with arranging transfer for you to and from the Sexual Assault Referral Centre (SARC).
What is a Sexual Assault Referral Centre?
A Sexual Assault Referral Centre (SARC) is a special facility where recent survivors of rape or sexual assault can receive immediate help and support. This includes access to a forensic medical examination, which is carried out by an experienced and qualified doctor, and the opportunity to speak to the police about what has happened to them if they wish to do so. SARC clients also receive help and advice from a Crisis Worker who can offer to support them and stay with them throughout the process.
New Pathways is based in Aberystwyth. It is a centre providing services to men, women and children living in the region, who have been raped or sexually assaulted. You can access a range of services that are free and confidential - view more information and contact details.
Reporting the incident to the University
You can report what has happened through our reporting system Report and Support The system is confidential and will only be accessible to a small number of dedicated staff who will respond, based upon what you have shared. You are able to tell us what happened with your details in order that we can respond. You can alternatively tell us anonymously. Choosing to report anonymously means that we might not be able to help you directly but the information you provide can be used at a later date and will help us to provide better support to others and inform prevention work across the University.
If you do then wish to proceed and make a formal report, you will be asked to submit a Serious Incident Statement and to take part in an interview with the investigating officer. Your Sexual Violence Liaison Officer can support you both before and during the interview. If you are concerned about coming into contact with the accused student, temporary measures can be put in place to reduce that risk.
If your case is being investigated by the police, the University will likely suspend its investigation until that process has been completed. However, temporary restrictions and adjustments can be put in place while the police conduct their investigation.
There is more information about student discipline procedures available here 15. Student Discipline : Academic Registry , Aberystwyth University
What if I don't want to report the incident?
You might decide not to report the incident to the police. This is completely your decision and you will be respected and supported in whatever decision you make. No one will judge or blame you. You can still speak to a member of the University’s Sexual Violence and Misconduct Support Service who will support you.
Sometimes, survivors of sexual violence change their minds about reporting to the police and/or university, once they have had some time to process what has happened. With that in mind, it would be useful, where appropriate, to take photographs of the scene of the incident and keep any relevant clothes, bedding, text messages or emails etc as these can then be used if you decide to report what happened in the future.
If you choose not to report the incident to the police, you can still access the services of the local Sexual Assault Referral Centre (SARC). The team at the SARC can see you without police involvement and book you an appointment as a self-referral during standard office hours Monday to Friday 9am to 5pm. They can collect evidence in case you later decide to report the incident.