Womens Support Project

Rape and Sexual Assault

There is never an excuse for rape and it makes no difference what a woman may be wearing, how much she has had to drink or whether she knows the person who rapes her, the responsibility always lies with the attacker, not the woman.  The Women’s Support Project believes there can be no justification for rape and works to support women who have experienced rape and sexual assault and challenge the myths that make it even harder for women to disclose the violence that they have experienced.

If you have been raped or sexually assaulted, remember that you did not ask for this to happen to you. Many women find that speaking about their experience helps them come to terms with what has happened. Speak to someone you can trust or contact your local rape crisis or rape and sexual abuse centre.

Reporting rape and sexual assault

For further information on the impact of rape, and on what to do if you have recently been raped or sexually assaulted, please go to www.rapecrisisscotland.org.uk/about/ For links to local rape crisis services please go to http://www.rapecrisisscotland.org.uk/help/local-centres/

You can report a rape or sexual assault by telephone or in person at a police station.  This can be an assault that is recent or an assault that happened some time ago, even as a child.  If you have been assaulted within the past seven days you will be taken to the Archway for a medical examination.

The Glasgow Archway is a Sexual Assault Referral Centre staffed by women doctors, nurses, support workers and counsellors.  You need to contact the Archway within 7 days of the assault. They are available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. You do not have to make a complaint to the police - you can also self refer by phoning 0141 211 8175. The Archway has facilities for storing forensic evidence for a period of time in case you decide to report to the police at a later date.

The Scottish Government produced a booklet in 2008 for people who have been raped or sexually assaulted: www.scotland.gov.uk/Publications/2008/04/16112631/0

For responses to frequently asked questions about rape please see: www.rapecrisisscotland.org.uk/help/faqs/

For information on reporting to the police, please go to: www.rapecrisisscotland.org.uk/workspace/publications/RCS-P-and-L-leafSNAPweb0312.pdf

Information for friends and family of women who have been raped is available at: www.rapecrisisscotland.org.uk/workspace/publications/RCS-F-and-F-leafSNAPweb0312.pdf

For a range of information on the extent of rape and sexual violence, see: www.rapecrisisscotland.org.uk/facts/

The Sexual Offences (Scotland) Act 2009 came into force in December 2010 and introduced a number of changes to the law on sexual offences in Scotland. www.opsi.gov.uk/legislation/scotland/acts2009/asp_20090009_en_1.

Unhelpful attitudes

Attitudes to rape can have an impact on women reporting and cases progressing to a conviction. The conviction rate in Scotland for rape is low, however, there is a commitment by Scottish Government, Police and the Crown Office to address this. The Crown Office (COPFS) review of the investigation and prosecution of rape and sexual assault made fifty recommendations to improve the way such offences are investigated and prosecuted and these have now been implemented. 

Attitudes within the UK and throughout the world to women who have experienced rape can be judgemental.  According to an ICM poll undertaken for Amnesty International in 2005, 33% of British people believe a woman is at least partially responsible for rape if she was wearing sexy clothes, flirting or drinking.  Another survey found that 19% of young women and 34% of young men did not think being `forced to have sex` is rape.

In a Scottish Study ten percent of young women reported their partner tried to force them to have sex.  Three per cent reported their boyfriend had actually forced them to have sex;  Burman, M. and Cartmel, F. (2006)Understanding Young People`s Attitudes to Gendered Violence. Edinburgh: NHS Health Scotland

For more information on attitudes to rape visit ‘This is not an invitation to rape me’ campaign website

Further information & support

For information on helpful resources please see: WSP resource list on rape and sexual assault

For information on support services in Scotland please see: WSP Directory of support services

The following websites have helpful information on rape and sexual assault.

Rape Crisis Scotland National Helpline
Freephone 08088 01 03 02
Information and support to anyone aged 13 and over who has experienced sexual violence. Also provides support to family, friends and workers of survivors to help them in their supportive role. Website gives information on local services.

National Association for People Abused in Childhood
Freephone 0800 085 3330
Support for adult survivors of any kind of childhood abuse.

Survivors UK
0845 122 1201 (Local Rate)
Support for men who have been raped or sexually abused as a child.

Freephone 0800 11 11
For children and young people in the UK – to talk about any problem.

Scottish Child Law Centre
Freephone for under 21`s
0800 328 8970
Free legal advice for under 21`s about any aspect of the law relating to children and young people.

Victim Support Scotland
Scottish Helpline
0845 6039 213 (Local Rate)
Provides victims with free and confidential emotional and practical assistance and information about the criminal justice system.

Breathing Space
Freephone 0800 83 85 87
Free confidential advice phone line for anyone suffering low mood or depression.

Bristol Crisis Service For Women
National Helpline
0117 925 1119
Confidential national helpline for women experiencing emotional distress,with a particular focus on self-injury.

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