Sexual assault is sexual contact you don't consent to.  It can include actions from groping through to rape.  It would include actions taken when someone is not in a position to decide or to say whether they consent to what is happening, for example because they are drunk or drugged.  It could involve threats, blackmail, physical force or other types of influencing or persuasion.   Sexual assault can happen to anyone, and can be done by anyone.   Sexual assault can be carried out by someone known to you as well as by a stranger.   The fact that there had previously been a social or sexual relationship between two people - even very recently -  does not mean consent is not necessary for future sexual activities to occur.  You also need consent to change the nature of the activity, for example to remove a condom or to use force.

Emergency help

Think about whether you are safe. 

If you or others are seriously hurt or in immediate physical danger you can call the police or ambulance on 999.  This includes if you think you, or someone else, may be about to attempt suicide. 

 If you are on a University campus, after calling 999 you may wish to contact the University Security Service (emergencies: 0161 295 3333) for additional support and to help the emergency services reach you quickly.

Non emergency help and next steps

Security on campus: 

You can contact the University’s Security Service by phone from any campus, or go to the Security Office at Maxwell Well on Peel Park Campus, 24 hours a day (down the road to left of main Maxwell entrance then turn right and ring the intercom). 


If you require medical treatment but not urgently, you can contact the St Mary’s Centre (Sexual Assault Referral Centre – a specialist service for you) helpline 0161 276 6515, or access NHS services (this website describes the different services and also allows you to search for services near you).  If you are not sure what help to access you can call the NHS non-emergency advice line 111. 

Take care of yourself

If you are not at risk now...  

·       Try to find somewhere safe and warm 
·       If you can, phone a friend to come to you 
·       If you think you might want forensic evidence to be collected, try, if possible, not to drink, eat, wash, smoke, brush your teeth, go to the toilet or change your clothes. 
·       If condoms or other protection were used and you think you might want forensic evidence to be collected, keep them, and any bedding, in a clean paper or plastic bag if possible. 
·       You can also choose to do nothing now. If you feel that it would be useful for you to take time and to think about the options open to you then that is a perfectly valid decision.  
·       Consider contacting a support agency 

Talk to someone

Get support from a friend or family member. Talking things through with someone you trust can sometimes help the immediate situation and help you think through what, if anything, you want to do.  If you aren’t ready to talk yet, writing things down can also help. 

Listen to someone

If someone tells you that they have been sexually assaulted, taking the time to listen to them can make all the difference.  You don’t have to know exactly the right thing to say or what to do – just listen.  Try to keep your own reactions more muted and allow space for their feelings, without judgement. 

If it really isn’t the right time, arrange a different time and a suitable place to hear them out.  If for some reason you are not able to listen, explain this and offer to help support them in finding support elsewhere. 

You don’t need to try to solve the problem.- support them while they manage their feelings, explore their options and decide what to do.  

It is really important to accept their choices even if it is not what you think you might do in their situation. 

If you are worried about them, don’t ignore your feelings – get some support yourself to find out what to do next. 

Find support

The University’s Counselling & Wellbeing Service provides a listening ear and can also support you if you want to know what next steps might be available for you. Their services are completely confidential. This client confidentiality will only be broken if the counsellors think there is a risk to you or someone else, or if there is a legal duty.  How to contact Counselling & Wellbeing

You can also access advice and guidance from your G.P. surgery (you may be registered with the University Medical Centre or otherwise you can look up your G.P.’s information here if you can’t remember).  

You may prefer to speak to someone outside of the University instead of, or as well as, our services. 

St Mary’s Sexual Assault Referral Centre (SARC) provides a comprehensive and coordinated forensic, counselling and medical aftercare service to anyone in Greater Manchester who has experienced rape or sexual assault (whether recently or in the past). Services are offered on a 24-hour basis and if you do not wish to report the matter to the police, you can refer yourself. The police will not be contacted without your consent.  If you are not in Greater Manchester you may find you have a SARC for your area or county too. 

Manchester Rape Crisis provides a confidential support service run by women for women and girls who have been raped or sexually abused. 

Survivors Manchester offers support and counselling for adult male survivors of sexual abuse and rape, regardless of when the event happened. 

Survivors UK provides information, support and counselling for men, who have been raped or sexually abused. 

Greater Manchester Victim Support helps people cope with the effects of crime by providing confidential support, counselling and information to victims and to witnesses attending court. They also provide support in the community and a separate waiting area in Magistrates and Crown Courts.  The services are free, confidential, independent of the police, courts and Crown Prosecution Service and available to everyone, whether or not the crime has been reported and regardless of when it happened. 

The Survivors Trust (TST) is a national umbrella agency for specialist rape, sexual violence and childhood sexual abuse support organisations throughout the UK and Ireland. 

Refuge UK is a national charity providing a range of services for women and children affected by domestic violence. 

Men’s Advice Line provides advice and support for heterosexual, gay, bisexual and trans men experiencing domestic violence and abuse.  

National LGBT Domestic Violence Helpline provides advice and support for lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans people.  

National Stalking Helpline offers specialist advice and support for anyone experiencing stalking. 

Paladin, National Stalking Advocacy Service is a national service assisting high risk victims of stalking in England and Wales.  

Karma Nirvana is a national charity supporting victims of forced marriage and ‘honour’ based violence. 

Forced Marriage Unit (FMU) is a joint Foreign and Commonwealth Office and Home Office including a Global Response Centre.  

Respect Phoneline an information and advice line for anyone who is concerned about their own violence or abuse towards a partner or ex-partner.  

Report it

It is up to you whether you decide to report, and who you want to talk to.  You can seek advice from a number of agencies at any time after the incident, even years later - support is not limited to those who choose to make an immediate report. Any decisions made will be yours alone and will be respected.  

Reporting the incident to the Police

You can report an incident to the Police at any time by: 

·       dialling 999 in an emergency  
·       dialling 101 if it is not an emergency 
·       going to your nearest police station – find out where it is and when it’s open here. You may want to ask a friend or relative to go with you 
·       contacting one of the University’s police liaison officers 

What you can expect if you report to the police 
If you choose to report an incident of sexual violence to the Police, a specially trained officer will be sent out to see you or will speak to you over the phone. The officer will ask some basic questions to make sure you are safe and find out what happened, when and where, and who was involved. They will work out what needs to be done next and tell you about the support services that are available locally.  The officer may also be able to take mouth and urine samples immediately so that forensic evidence can be preserved and you will be able to eat, drink and go to the toilet without fear of losing such evidence.  

The officer may, with your permission, take you to the nearest Sexual Assault Referral Centre (SARC).  You can take a supportive friend or relative with you. Take a change of clothes as they will need the clothes you are wearing. Also take any bedding or used condom if relevant.  

The staff at the SARC will be able to discuss with you immediate concerns relating to the risk of pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections, as well as assessing any injuries that may be present. Staff can also help and support you through the immediate trauma.  

At some point you will be asked to give an official statement to the Police, this will usually be in a special room with comfy sofas and hot drinks, where you can be interviewed if that feels ok for you. Alternatively you could decide to be interviewed in another location where you feel more comfortable, when you are ready.  

You should be aware that although you have called the Police, you can opt out of the reporting process at any point without losing the support of the SARC staff. You should be offered a referral for additional specialist advice and support services in your local area too.  

Reporting the incident to the Police at a later date 

Many people do not wish to report an incident of sexual assault to the Police immediately, but decide after a while that they want to do so. This is perfectly valid and there are steps you can take now to make it easier to report to the Police at a later stage: 

You can go to your nearest Sexual Assault Referral Centre (SARC) for information and support – for University of Salford students this will usually be St Mary’s Centre in Manchester. It's good to take a friend or trusted person with you if you can. At the SARC, you will be allocated a Support Worker who can talk you through the different options available to you.  

At the SARC, you can have a forensic medical examination, as well as tests for sexually transmitted infections and pregnancy. The SARC should not pressure you into reporting to the police and they can store the results of the forensic examination (or evidence) until you make up your mind whether to report to the police or not.  

If there are signs of a disturbance at the scene of the assault, it would be useful if you could take photographs in case you decide to report it to the police at a later date. Remember to keep any relevant clothes, bedding or used condom. 

Reporting the incident to the Police anonymously 

Another option is to report the incident to the Police anonymously.   It is unlikely that the police would be able to prosecute anybody from an anonymous report, however it could alert them to information which could lead them to serial offenders or help to prevent future attacks. 

A SARC can pass on information to the Police without giving away any details which could identify you.  SARC will always ask your permission before they pass on any information.  Another option is to report anonymously through Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 

Not reporting the incident to the Police 

If you are certain you do not want to report the incident to the Police at any time, then you can still access the support of the Sexual Assault Referral Centre (SARC) services. You can choose not to provide forensic evidence but can still receive specialist medical support and be referred for additional support. 

Reporting to the University

The University has internal procedures for addressing misconduct by students and staff, such as the Student Disciplinary procedure. You can speak to askUS services or a member of staff in your School to find out more about this. It’s helpful to be aware that as these are internal institutional procedures they are limited in scope and may be put on hold until the completion of any legal or criminal proceedings. 


There are two ways you can report something