If you have been raped, do the following as soon as possible
- Get to a safe place and stay there. If possible, avoid any further contact with the perpetrator and do not end up alone with the perpetrator again.
- Do your best to find a trustworthy person in whom you can confide - if possible, contact a counseling center, call a crisis hotline, etc.
- Visit a gynecologist as soon as possible after the rape - it is best not to bathe, shower or otherwise wash yourself before you are examined.
- If you are afraid you have been impregnated, find a pharmacy and get advice about the effects of Postinor. This is emergency birth control you can buy if you are 16 years of age (be prepared to show your identification) without a prescription.
- Carefully consider whether you want to report the rape to the police. When filing a criminal report, you will be subjected to interrogation yourself. This can be a harmful, very unpleasant experience. On the other hand, rape is a crime, and reporting it can be an important step toward coping with this traumatizing event.
- Save everything that is evidence of the rape even if you would prefer to destroy it. Should you decide to report the rape to police, all evidence will be essential. Items of evidence can be any clothing, underwear, bedding, or other items the perpetrator came into contact with. Keep these pieces of evidence - the best way to do this is to put each item separately into a plastic bag and then store them somewhere safe.
- To acquire more information about rape and a better understanding of the issue, you can read, for example, the publication by Helen Benedict entitled Recovery: How to Survive Sexual Assault (1994) or Waking the Tiger: Healing Trauma (1997) by Peter A. Levine, Ph.D. and Ann Frederick.
Why you should go to a gynecologist after you have been raped:
- To treat any injuries you have sustained.
- To get advice on how to prevent an unwanted pregnancy.
- To arrange for the prevention or treatment of sexually transmitted disease.
- You can acquire evidentiary material for an eventual criminal proceedings if you are examined in time.
What to do once you decide to file a criminal report
1. Report the rape to the police
Report the rape to a police station or call their emegency number (158). It is possible to file a criminal report verbally, either in person or by telephone, or in writing by e-mail or through regular post. Any police department must accept such a report from you even if the place where the assault occurred does not fall within that department’s territory.
When filing a criminal report, we recommend the following:
- Submit your medical report to police (keep a copy).
- Give them any other evidentiary material you have.
- Describe the event in detail to the interrogating police officer, even if you find it challenging to do so.
- The frequently-asked questions during such an interrogation are:
When the crime was committed
Where the crime was committed
How it happened
Whether there were witnesses
Whether the perpetrator’s identity is known to the victim
Whether there is evidence available
You can request that the officer who interrogates you be either male or female.
Even if you believe you do not have enough evidence (e.g., clothing or a medical report), your criminal report still has a hope of succeeding.
Those interrogating you will also provide you with a great deal of information, which very often you may not be able to grasp given your situation, so do not be afraid to ask questions or to ask the officers to repeat to you what your rights and responsibilities are so that everything will be clear to you.
The police should respect the tempo that you set for the interrogation.
If you want to be informed as to whether your criminal report has been investigated, you must expressly ask the police officer during your interrogation that you be informed, and you also have the right to information about the course and results of the entire proceeding. Do not be afraid to ask for this!
Your personal information (e.g., the address of your residence or workplace) can be kept secret from the perpetrator at your express request. It is best to request that this information be kept secret during your first contact with police.
Because your health has been harmed and you may have suffered property damage or other harm, you are considered an injured party and you have the right to compensation for the damage caused. Tell the police you seek compensation. If you apply for compensation, you will not have to separately request information about the course of the proceedings and its results - that information will be automatically provided to you.
2. Evidentiary proceedings
In order to investigate the facts you presented when you filed your criminal report, you may be called upon by the police again to augment your previous testimony. The police can also instruct both the perpetrator and the victim to be subjected to examination by a court expert. On the basis of this further investigation, the matter will either be brought before a court or will be postponed (for example, for lack of evidence).
3. Court proceedings
During the court hearing, you and any other witnesses will be interrogated. You can ask for the defendant not to be present when you are interrogated, and it is also possible to ask that you never come into direct contact with the perpetrator during the entire process. You have the right to issue a statement about the impact of the rape on your life during any phase of the criminal proceeding.
You can ask the court, the police or the state prosecutor for information regarding a defendant’s reported flight or release from custody or a convict’s reported flight or release from serving a prison sentence.
4. Decision of the court
The victim can learn whether the defendant has been found either guilty or innocent by listening to the verdict directly in the courtroom, or can ask the court for such information in writing. If you applied for compensation for damages, such a decision will be automatically delivered to you.
You can be accompanied and supported by a loved one during all of these steps (such a person is referred to in the law on crime victims as a “confidant”), or by an attorney.
Even if the perpetrator is not found guilty, or if the matter is postponed or the proceedings stopped for whatever reason, that does not mean the crime did not happen or that you have somehow failed.
The entire process described above is demanding and can be confusing.
Do not hesitate to contact us in order to better orient yourself in your particular situation and to get support.
What to do if the sexual violence occurred a long time ago
If you were sexually abused as a child or raped years ago, it is absolutely natural that such an experience can cause you difficulties even today with which you are unable to cope.
It is certainly possible for you to master your return to regular life solely with the aid of your loved ones, but it is not exceptional that you might need to find the help of professionals such as psychologists or sexologists.
You can also turn to the police, even in a case where the sexual violence happened some time ago. From the legal point of view, the statute of limitations may not yet have expired for such a felony. It is appropriate to first verify whether that is so, for example, by asking a counseling center for victims of sexual violence or a lawyer to review your case.
A reason for reporting the rape to police can be, for example, your own safety or that of your loved ones, as well as a need to take steps toward the possible punishment of the perpetrator.
Have you not found an answer to your question, or do you feel your situation requires the help of a professional?
Use our services for victims of sexual violence.