If you have been raped or sexually assaulted, you are not to blame. The person who raped or assaulted you is responsible for this abusive behaviour.

Whether the rape or assault happened recently or historically, there is support available and you are eligible to make a police report if you wish. We know how difficult it is for people to come forward and tell someone, but we would encourage you to tell a support service, a trusted friend, or a family member if you can. You don’t need to cope with this alone - receiving support at this time can help you to overcome the initial shock and disruption to your life.

The services mentioned below are specially trained to hold space for survivors and listen non-judgmentally. They will respect you, believe you, and support you to make the right decisions for you. What you choose to do going forward is your decision.

If the rape or assault was recent

It is important to consider the possibilities of injury, pregnancy or sexually transmitted infections (STI’s), and whether or not you want to report the incident to the Police. This can feel overwhelming but there are a few key things to consider. The information listed below can help guide you in making decisions that feel right for you.

Safety and wellbeing

If you are in immediate danger or seriously injured, find a safe space and call 999 to seek emergency support from police or the ambulance service.
For mental health and wellbeing crisis support, click here.

Do you have any injuries?

If you have any physical injuries after an assault you can seek medical help. If this is more than a very minor injury, or if you were unconscious for even a short time, you can go to Accident and Emergency or call NHS 24 on 111 for advice. If you can, it may be helpful to take a friend or family member with you. It is your decision how much information you provide, but the medical staff will be able to offer you better advice & treatment if they are aware of the circumstances. You can also arrange to see your GP.

Reporting to the Police

If you would like to report the incident to Police, you can do so by dialing 101, submitting this online form, presenting to a police station to make a report, or, in an emergency, dialing 999. If you are unsure and would like more time to decide whether reporting to Police is the right option for you, you can contact the SARCS service detailed below. 

This video provides in depth detail of the various stages of reporting sexual crimes, and the criminal justice process in Scotland. Police Scotland provide addition information on their website.
Part of this process may involve a voluntary forensic medical examination which is detailed below. 

Sexual Assault Response Co-ordination Service (SARCS)

SARCS can support you to arrange care for yourself in the days following a rape or sexual assault. If you are unsure about reporting your experience to the Police, and would like more time to decide, you can contact SARCS 24/7 on 0800 148 8888 to arrange a forensic medical examination (FME). This voluntary examination is carried out by a healthcare professional with the aim of collecting evidence that can be used to help identify the person who carried out the assault - if you decide to report it to the police at a later date. Any evidence gathered can be stored for 26 months, enabling you to take time with this decision.

SARCS can also provide emotional support  as well as emergency contraception and STI testing.


If you would prefer not to make a Police report, but would like the authorities to have knowledge of your experience anonymously for intelligence gathering purposes, you can share information regarding your experience with Crimestoppers here.

University reporting

If you have experienced sexual violence by a UoE student, you can request an investigation under the code of student conduct by completing this form and sending it to complaints@ed.ac.uk

If the person who caused you harm is a student at a different university, you can make a complaint directly to their university under their code of student conduct/behaviour policy.

For support requesting an investigation or making a complaint, you can contact the EUSA Advice Place.

Emotional support

The impact of sexual violence is experienced differently for each individual. There is no right or wrong way to experience this.
Your emotions at this time can range from feeling frightened and hyper-vigilant of further risk of harm; feeling avoidant and using distraction to prevent you thinking about your experience; feeling angry and wanting to seek justice; or feeling numb and disengaged from your experience. You may also not feel any impact which does not make your experience any less valid.
A helpful resource that may assist you to understand and manage your experience can be found here.

Talking to trusted friends, family or professionals can also help you to process and move through your experience. Services that can support are listed at the bottom of this page.

It has happened to someone I know

If someone you know has shared with you that they have experienced sexual violence, or they have asked a question or made a joke that has suggested this might be the case, try to listen to them non-judgmentally if you feel able to.
It is important to consider that they may respond to their experience differently than you would, and may not wish to take the action that you think they should. Sexual violence is an abuse of power and control which makes it very important that victim-survivors are able to regain control when deciding what should happen next.

You can suggest that they take a look at this support page to help them explore their options, or you can suggest that they contact the Equally Safe Team if they'd like to talk this through with a specialist member of staff and access some support. 

It is important that you don't question the accuracy of their experience, tell them what they should have done differently, or tell them how they should behave now. Comments such as "why didn't you fight back?", "you should have left sooner", "why were you at his house?" or "you need to tell the police so it doesn't happen to someone else" can have a harmful impact and cause the person to feel responsible for what happened to them. Sexual violence is never the fault of the victim-survivor, and it is important that they feel believed.

It can feel difficult to know how to support someone in these circumstances. If you would like support and guidance from a member of the Equally Safe Team, email the team at equallysafeteam@ed.ac.uk or make a named report and a member of the team will get back to you.
You can also look to this guide for more information.

Please ensure you take care of your own wellbeing when supporting others and utilise the university support services linked at the bottom of this page if required.

University support

A list of support options available within the university can be found here.

External sources of support

Sexual Assault Response Co-ordination Service (SARCS): The NHS Scotland sexual assault self-referral service supports victim-survivors to access forensic medical examinations within 7 days of a rape or sexual assault, without making a report to the police. Follow up support can also be provided. Contact: 0800 148 8888 (24-hour service).

Edinburgh Rape Crisis Centre: Provides support to all victim-survivors in Edinburgh and the Lothians, including specialist counselling support and advocacy. Contact: 07966 067 301, 0131 556 9437 or support@ercc.scot.

Rape Crisis Scotland: Provides a national rape crisis helpline and email support for anyone of any gender affected by sexual violence. Contact: 0808 801 0302 (5 pm to midnight)

Galop: A charity that supports LGBT+ people affected by sexual violence. Contact:  0800 999 5428

Scottish Women's Rights Centre: Provides legal advice, advocacy support, and information for female survivors of GBV. Contact: 08088 010 789

Survivors UK: A national helpline for men who have experienced sexual abuse. Support offered through web chat, WhatsApp and text. Contact: Text - 020 3322 1860 or live chat at www.survivorsuk.org

Victim Support Scotland: Information and support for victims and witnesses of crime. Contact: 0345 603 9213 (Monday to Friday, 8am to 8pm)

You My Sister: Provides practical and mental health support to female survivors of porn and sex industries. Contact: i@youmysister.org.uk or via their website.

Samaritans: Available to talk about anything that’s troubling you, no matter how large or small the issue. You don't have to be suicidal. Call: 116 123 (Lines are open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year)

Breathing Space: Where experienced advisors will listen and offer information and advice. Call: 0800 83 85 87 (Monday-Thursday 6pm to 2am. Weekend: Friday 6pm-Monday 6am)

Edinburgh Nightline is a helpline for students, run by students, operating 8 pm – 8 am every night of term 0131 557 4444 

Additional services that may be able to offer you support are available here.

There are two ways you can tell us what happened