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This page is for people who may have experienced sexual violence within a domestic abuse setting.

We know that this is a challenging time for you and that you’re waiting for therapeutic support, we appreciate how much courage and strength it has taken for you to reach out to RISE. While you wait, the resources on this page are here to help you to understand more about your experiences and the impact that those experiences are having on your wellbeing.

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The live chat facility on this page is currently not available. Please make use of the resources on the page and other support options referenced below.

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Do you need more urgent help?

If you feel that you’re in immediate danger or if you are having suicidal thoughts and thinking about acting on them, see below for alternative support options.

If you are in danger call 999.

If you call 999 and are unable to speak, and are using a mobile phone, call 55 to let the police know it is a genuine emergency and then follow instructions that you will hear. Pressing 55 does not allow the police to track your location but it will connect you to the silent solutions system.

Other support options if you need immediate help and support

> Freephone National Domestic Violence 24 hr helpline – 0808 2000 247

If you are having suicidal thoughts and feel like you might act on them

> The Samaritans now have a Freephone number – 116 123 (24/7)

> Sussex Mental Health line – 0800 0309 500 (24/7), this service is available to anyone concerned about their own mental health or that of a relative or friend.

> Contact your GP as soon as possible to seek support.

> Shout, 24/7 crisis text line

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What do we mean by sexual abuse in a domestic violence setting?

If you’re in contact with our service, you’re likely to have experienced one or a combination of the following:

  • Pressure to have sex
  • Sexual assault (ranges from any unwanted physical contact to attempted rape)
  • Indecent exposure
  • Domestic violence including power and control dynamics in relation to sex
  • Exposure to unwanted sexual content in messages or videos: Online, written and/or phone communications
  • Sexual exploitation
  • Forced marriage

Impact on your day to day life

When you experience sexual abuse it can impact how you think, feel, how you relate to others and how you see the world.

It’s common to feel a whole mixture of different emotions, including (but not limited to) anger, numbness, sadness, anxiety, shame and guilt.


Shame is a common emotion to feel in relation to sexual abuse and is rarely talked about.

You may experience shame as deeply embedded negative feelings that you hold about yourself that you haven’t even questioned as they are so deeply rooted. Have a look at these 5 steps for dealing with shame:

NICABM Info G How to transform shame


Sexual violence is never the fault of the survivor, yet there will be complex reasons why survivor’s hold onto the blame. Check out this video:


After experiencing any kind of sexual abuse you’re likely to feel deep emotional distress. Follow the link beneath to learn about some of the effects of trauma on the body and brain:

10 things no-one ever told you about life after sexual abuse

Then watch the video here:


Why don’t survivors just say no?

Why don't victims of sexual assault just say 'No'? - Dr. Nina Burrows

Self-care and healing journey

The healing journey takes time and it will be different for everyone. Remember to be kind to yourself, what you’ve experienced was not your fault and it’s ok not to feel ok.

Below we’ve outlined some wellbeing resources to help you to understand more about how your brain and body are reacting to your experiences.

Wellbeing for Adults

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Other helpful resources

RISE helpline

Support Pods

Health Talk


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