If you think you have been sexually assaulted, it may be hard to know what to do or how to feel. 

What happened was not your fault. What you do next is your choice.  


Are you in immediate danger? If you are in immediate danger or seriously injured, you can call 999 (or 112 from a mobile).  If you are on campus, you should tell Security (01483 68 3333) that the emergency services are on their way and give details of your location.  

Finding a safe space: if possible, try and find somewhere you feel safe. If this isn't possible and you are on campus you can call Security on 01483 68 3333 

What is sexual assault? This section describes the different types of sexual assault that a person can experience. 


To a friend or family member: talking things through with someone you trust can sometimes help. 

Security: some members of our Security team are trained to receive disclosures of sexual violence. All Officers can talk through how to make a report and what support is available.

Sexual Violence Liaison Officers (SVLOs) are trained in taking disclosures of historic or new incidents of sexual violence and are equipped to provide you with the support you need.

University of Surrey Students’ Union (USSU) can talk students through what options are available and support you through the process.  This support includes checking draft complaints and attending any meetings with the University. 

Trade unions are organised groups of workers who come together to support each other in the workplace. The University of Surrey recognises three campus trade unions: Unison, UCU and Unite. 


Reporting to the police: if you're thinking of reporting to the police, Rape crisis has produced a useful list of things to think about. 

If the assault has just occurred, the police can take you to a Sexual Assault Referral Centre (SARC) where you can have a forensic medical examination and receive medical and emotional help. 

This may seem scary, but to help get the best quality forensic evidence, SARC recommends that you try not to eat, drink, smoke, wash, change your clothes, go to the toilet or clear up the area where the assault took place. If you need to go to the toilet collect a sample and the paper in separate bags. If you have done any of these things, don’t worry, it is often possible to get some forensic evidence, so this should not stop you reporting. 

Time limits to be aware of: 
  • If you suspect you were given any type of drug, it is best to be tested within 24 hours.
  • If you would like emergency contraception, the medication should be started within 72 hours.
  • If you would like HIV prophylaxis, the medication should be started within 72 hours
Any forensic evidence collected can be stored whilst you decide what to do next. It is up to you to choose what kind of support you want to access, but you might want to consider getting medical attention even if you do not want to report the assault to the police.

Police procedures: Please see the Surrey Police website for detailed information on reporting a sexual assault. Reporting at a Police station and/or attending a Sexual Assault Referral Centre (SARC) can be a lengthy process, but you will be listened to and supported throughout the process. It might be helpful to bring along a supportive friend or relative.

If you have not changed your clothes since the incident, it is advisable to bring a spare set of clothes as the police may need to keep the clothes you are wearing as evidence. When you give your statement to the Police try not to leave anything out, however embarrassing or painful it may be. If you can’t remember something, it is ok to say so.

Don’t be afraid to tell the truth about things like how much you had to drink or using recreational drugs; if the truth comes out later it may harm the chances of prosecution.

Reporting later Many people do not wish to report immediately but decide after a while that they want to do so. This is perfectly acceptable and there is no time limit for investigation by the police and prosecuting incidents of sexual assault. 

If you are not sure what to do, you can go to Sexual Assault Referral Centre (SARC). They can talk you through the different options that are available. A key consideration when reporting non-recent assaults is the fact that forensic evidence is no longer available and cannot be considered if not previously preserved. However, your strongest piece of evidence is your account of what happened.   

Reporting the incident anonymously: you can call Crimestoppers at any point on 0800 555 111 or use their online form.       

Report and Support: students and staff can report an incident using the University’s Report and Support system. You can choose to do this anonymously or you can request support from a member of staff. The University takes every report seriously and carefully considers what action to take. 

Get support    

Find out what support is available if you have been sexually assaulted.        

Find out more on the support available for mental health and wellbeing.

Take care of yourself. It’s important that you take care of yourself. If you’ve heard something distressing or if something is troubling you, the University's Centre for Wellbeing offers confidential help and is open to students.

The Employee Assistance Programme, BHSF RISE, gives staff access to free personalised, on-demand advice and support from a team of mental health, financial and legal experts, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.


There are two ways you can tell us what happened