Sex without consent is rape - anything less than a yes is a no.
There are many misconceptions around the serious crime of sexual assault and rape. Our message is that whatever the circumstances, anything less than a yes is a no. Victims often blame themselves, but the fact is that abuse is never okay and it is not the victim's fault, no matter what the circumstances.
It is important to remember that being pressurised, forced into having sex or taking part in sexual activity when you don’t want to is a crime, whether you know that person or not.
We would encourage people to think about violence, abuse, controlling behaviour and what consent means within their relationships as we understand the massive impact it can have on victims.
Making that first call or talking about abuse can be very hard for victims, so it is important to know that help and support is available.
If you have been the victim of a serious sexual assault then please report it - call us on 101 so we can help. Remember in an emergency or if a crime is taking place always ring 999.
Support and help
We take investigations into rape and sexual assault very seriously. We have specially trained officers who will explain the process all the way through and help you to make a statement about what has happened. There will also be people there who can help you with any medical concerns you might have.
We work closely with partners to ensure victims have access to the assistance they need and that offenders are brought to justice.
If you feel unable to report it to the police straight away, tell someone you trust. You can speak to your GP or if you are at college or university, welfare staff and the Student Union will be able to offer help and advice.
This service will help you report rape, sexual assault, and other sexual offences.
First, we’ll ask you some questions to make sure reporting online is right for you, and so we can give you the right form to fill in. Then you’ll fill in the report itself.
This will take about 20 to 30 minutes, so please make sure you’re somewhere safe and won’t be disturbed.
We won’t judge you; we’ll treat you with respect, and we’ll always put your health and wellbeing first.
You can report something that’s happened to you, or to someone else. You can also report anonymously, without giving us your details.
I don't want to report it to the police - what can I do?
If you don't want to talk to the police, you can still access help.
The Meadows Sexual Assault Referral Centre provides a sensitive and comprehensive service to residents of County Durham and Darlington who have been raped or sexually assaulted.
Their free services are available to both men and women.
The Meadows offers a forensic medical examination, advice, support, counselling and sexual health screening and aim to provide help as soon as you feel ready, whether you wish to report the assault to the police or not.
If you do decide to report to the police, they can help you do so.
The Meadows is furnished and decorated to provide comfortable, safe surroundings and is located approximately four miles outside of Durham City centre, with another smaller premises located in Darlington town centre.
You can contact them on 0330 223 0099, by email at email@example.com or click here to access their website.
24/7 Rape and Sexual Abuse Support Line
The 24/7 Rape & Sexual Abuse Support Line is a free phone and online chat service, run by Rape Crisis England and Wales, funded by UK Government, for anyone aged 16+ in England and Wales who has experienced something sexual that they didn’t consent to or are feeling confused about.
The Support Line is open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Specialist staff are there to listen, answer questions and offer emotional support.
Call 0808 500 2222 or visit 247sexualabusesupport.org.uk to chat online or find out more.