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HealthInfo Canterbury

Sexual harm

For advice and support, contact Safe to talk. This is a free national 24-hour seven day a week confidential service for anyone looking for help to do with sexual harm. You can get help by phone 0800-044-334, text 4334, or via the website.

Sexual harm is when someone:

If you've been sexually harmed it's important to know there are people who want to help you and you don't have to go through this alone.

The first thing to do is go somewhere you feel safe, such as the home of a close friend or family member. If you feel able to, tell someone you trust what has happened.

You don't have to decide straight away whether you want to make a formal complaint to the police. It's OK to take the time you need to decide this.

Getting help for sexual harm

Whether or not you choose to go to police or tell anyone else, it's best to see a doctor as soon as possible if the sexual harm included rape. If you live in Canterbury or on the West Coast, you can see the doctors and nurses at the Cambridge Clinic. This is a specialist medical service for anybody over 12 who's been sexually assaulted or abused. You can see them straight after an assault, or years afterwards. You can also go to your own doctor, or the hospital. Talking to a health care professional is confidential.

You can phone Sexual Assault Support Service Canterbury for free 24-hour rape and sexual assault support. Phone 0800-Aviva-now (0800‑284‑82669).

You can also call the police on (03) 363‑7400. It's OK to contact them just to ask for advice and to find out what your options are. You don't have to make a formal complaint. The police can also help you and put you in touch with people who can help. This useful page on their website explains your choices after a sexual assault. It has written information and videos about topics like support services, medical check-ups and what happens when you go to a police station.

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On the next page: Support for sexual harm

Written by HealthInfo clinical advisers. Last reviewed January 2021.

See also:

Referral and support agencies – assault

Page reference: 47648

Review key: HISAA-14477