How to Report Historic Sexual Abuse
What is historic abuse?
Historic, or non-recent* abuse is classed as non-recent after 28 days, whether it happened once or 100 times, any time after 28 days, whether it is a few weeks, months, years, or decades is all classed as non-recent.
*This is the term that is used within the Criminal Justice System
Reporting the abuse
Sexual abuse can be reported at any time – it is never too late! Your voice deserves to be heard at any stage and you do not have go through it alone.
ISVA’s (Independent Sexual Violence Advisors) are available to help you make an informed decision about your choice to report and will support any decision you make. They can talk you through the whole process of an investigation so you can feel prepared for what to expect.
To make a report – these are the options:
- Call 101
- Go to a local police station
- An ISVA can make a report on your behalf or with you.
- An ISVA can discuss anonymous reporting with you.
Things to consider.
Location of offence
The location of the offence will determine which police force investigate the offence. If the offence was out of the area where you currently live, then the local force may take the initial account to pass on to the relevant police force.
For example – you currently live in Warwickshire, but the offence took place in Northamptonshire – Northamptonshire police would investigate the offence and if the case went to court, it would be in a court in Northamptonshire.
Offences are looked at in relation to the law that was in place at the time. The current Sexual Offences Act is from 2003, anything before this will be looked at in relation to the Sexual Offences Act 1956. The way some offences are looked at and dealt with may be different to how they are dealt with now.
There are a small number of offences that have a statute of limitation from the Sexual Offences Act 1956 – this means the crime must be reported within a certain amount of time from when it occurred. This does not mean it cannot be reported but it may be dealt with in a different way.
Is the Perpetrator Still Alive?
If a perpetrator has passed away, they cannot be prosecuted because they are not here to defend themselves and answer questions about the offence. If you are uncertain if the perpetrator is still alive you can report the offence and the police will do checks.
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