Reporting Abuse : It’s Never your Fault
The victim is not the one to blame. It is the person who did the crime.
“Any form of assault can be very traumatic. It can be hard to speak out. Always remember what happened was wrong. Whether or not you report, remember, you are not to blame. This is the first step to healing. Reporting is one way to remind yourself just how incredible you are. There is no perfect way to be a victim! Whatever you choose to do, know that you are brave and you are strong. No one can take away your power.”
You can go to:
- The police first
- The hospital first
- A trusted adult to take you to the hospital/police station
- A friend/peer first to connect you to a trusted adult.
Choose what works for you! We recommend going to the hospital first – ideally within 24-72 hours – to get emergency medical treatment and begin the process of reporting.
In both places, you have a right to:
- Ask to speak to a person focused on helping children. Many hospitals/stations have gender and/or child-friendly desks.
- Speak in private – they should respect your confidentiality
- Be treated kindly and with respect
- Be taken seriously – your claims cannot be dismissed.
- Request a female officer/doctor.
Immediately after the assault
- If you are able, and you feel safe, get away from the attacker as fast as you can.
- Talk to someone you trust to help you get the help you need.
- A trusted adult (like a parent/teacher/guardian) is a good point to get help.
- If you don’t have a trusted adult, you may find someone in a close friend or one of your peers, and they can connect you to a trusted adult.
- If that person does not respond well, that is their fault. It is the community’s obligation to help you.
- Keep trying until you find the support you need.
- You do not have to speak until you are ready.
“Don’t try and force the victim to trust you, this takes time. It is better to try and find someone who can talk on his/her behalf in case he/she is too shy or afraid.” – Fred Otieno, Lawyer, Legal Resource Foundation
Ways to preserve evidence
There are ways to save evidence that may help bring the assaulter to justice.
- Do not wash, comb or clean any part of your body. You may want to but this process will help save evidence. If you have already done so, don’t worry.
- If you must take off what you were wearing, wrap the clothes in newspaper or paper bag – not a plastic bag – and keep it with you.
- Do not touch or remove anything from where the assault took place.
At the Hospital
- At the hospital, a doctor or clinical officer will ask you questions about the sexual assault. Answer them as honestly and completely as you can.
- A doctor or clinical officer will examine your whole body and take samples of your blood and urine.
- You will also be given emergency treatment (PEP) to help protect against HIV, other sexually transmitted infections, and pregnancy.
- If you reported the sexual assault to the police before going to the hospital, you should have received a P3 form, which will be completed and signed by the doctor or clinical officer.
- If you have not yet reported the assault to the police or do not have a P3 form, the doctor or clinical officer will record the medical information on a “PRC1” form (Post Rape Care form) and sign the form. There will be three copies of form PRC1, a white copy for you, a yellow copy to be given to the police and a green copy that will be kept by the hospital.
- You can then go to the police station to finish your reporting
AT THE POLICE STATION
- The police will make a record of the report in the occurrence book (OB) and you will then be given an OB number.
- The police will ask you questions about the assault and you should answer the questions honestly and completely. The police may ask you some questions that may be hard for you to talk about. Take your time and do your best.
- The police may also write down what you tell them and ask you to sign it at the bottom. This is called a “written statement”. Read it carefully. Before you sign it, be sure it correctly states what you told them. Your guardian will also sign it to support your statement.
- The police will complete a form called a “P3” form. This is a medical form. It is important to get this form. The police give it to you. You should not be asked to pay for the form. You should not offer to pay to get the form. It is free. If you are not given a P3 form, you should ask for one.
- If you have not already been to the hospital, you will need to go to the hospital with the P3 form, which will be completed by a doctor or a clinical officer.
- If you went to the hospital before going to the police station, the hospital should have given you a PRC1 form. You should bring that form to the police station and give it to the police. They will attach it to the P3 form.
- As a minor, you may lack identification such as a birth certificate. If you have it, you should bring it with you to the police station. If not, your trusted adult can help you with this paperwork.
“When a victim comes here, They deserve to be helped… [They] shouldn’t be shouted at because they didn’t want to be victimised. They shouldn’t be hurried. I speak to them patiently so they feel they have been helped.” – Caroline Nentaya, Police Officer, Gender Desk, Rueben Police Post.
Survivors’ examinations occur at a pace that they are comfortable with and can not be forced to be examined. They must be counseled first and given all the information about the examination beforehand – Dr. Kizzie Shako, Police Surgeon, Forensic and Pathology Services.
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