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What is sexual assault and how can I get help?

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Sexual assault happens when someone touches another person in a sexual manner without their consent.  The Sexual Offences Act 2003 says that someone commits sexual assault if all of the following happens;

  • They intentionally touch another person.
  • The touching is sexual.
  • The other person does not consent to the touching.
  • They do not reasonably believe that the other person consents.
  • The touching can be with any part of the body or with anything else.

Sexual assault can be committed by anybody – it can be a stranger or somebody you know.

1 in 2 rapes against women are carried out by their partner or ex-partner and 1 in 3 adult survivors of rape experience it in their own home.

How can we help?

If you are experiencing Domestic Abuse, please do not suffer in silence. Please contact Johnson Astills’ Domestic Violence and Abuse Department on 0116 255 4855 or DVAD@JohnsonAstills.com to see what support they can offer you.

Our team will be able to advise you on the legal processes of leaving an abusive partner. They may also be able to recommend charitable organisations that can offer you support throughout. Victims who have worked with accredited independent professionals, such as IDVA’s or ISVA’s are 49% less likely to withdraw form the court process when reporting sexual abuse.

1 in 6 children have been sexually abused. If you suspect a child is experiencing sexual assault or sexual abuse at home, you must inform the police. Before calling 999 you should try to assess whether the child is in immediate danger. If you do not believe they are, you should call the police on 101 instead. Alternatively you could speak with a social worker and raise your concerns.

The Local Authority will then become involved with this family to assess whether the child in question is at risk of sexual harm.

How can we help?

If the Local Authority advise you that your child is at risk of sexual harm, you should contact a solicitor for advice. Please contact our Care Team on 0116 255 4855 or Careteam@JohnsonAstills.com to find out more information.

Johnson Astills Care Team can help you if;

  • Your child is put onto a Child Protection Plan, due to them suffering or being at risk of suffering sexual harm.
  • Your child is in Pre-Proceedings.
  • Your child is living in alternative accommodation through a voluntary section 20 agreement.
  • Your child is in Pre-Proceedings.
  • Your child is the subject of Care Proceedings.

The highest ever number of rapes was recorded by police in the year ending March 2022. Of 70,330 rapes reported, only 2,223 charges were brought.

If you are a victim of sexual assault, Rape Crisis England and Wales have opened a 24/7 support line. They will be there to listen to you, talk to you and offer support. You can access support following this link; https://rapecrisis.org.uk/. This 24/7 rape crisis line is a huge step in the right direction for victims of sexual assault and will hopefully lead to more people speaking out and more charges being brought.

Johnson Astills understand that reporting sexual assault in any capacity can be hard and feel very daunting, whether you are the victim or a witness. However, with the right advice and support, victims can be kept safe from experiencing further harm.