Most Rape Crisis member Centres provide a confidential helpline service for women and girls who have experienced any form of sexual violence at any time in their lives. Some Rape Crisis helplines also support men and boys who have experienced sexual violence and/or anyone who is supporting a survivor; if a Rape Crisis helpline isn’t able to support you directly, they will help you find other sources of specialist support.
Rape Crisis helplines have local or Freephone numbers, so that they’re low cost or free to ring, and will usually be able to call you back if you’re worried about the cost of a call.
Rape Crisis helplines are staffed by women who have received specialist training. Rape Crisis helpline workers will listen to you, believe you and support you. They can also provide you with information if that’s what you want. They won’t judge you, advise you, tell you what to do or put pressure on you. Your call will be led by you; you can go at your own pace, you don’t have to talk about anything you’re not comfortable with, and you don’t have to give your name if you don’t want to. There are rare and exceptional circumstances when a helpline worker might be obliged to share information you give her outside of her Rape Crisis Centre, such as if a child is in immediate danger, but she will try and discuss this with you if this should occur.
Some Rape Crisis Centres can offer helpline support in languages other than English and some have specific sessions dedicated to specific types of survivors, such as young women and girls or asylum-seeking and refugee women.
Some Rape Crisis helplines offer support via text message (SMS) and/or e-mail if you prefer to communicate that way.
Some Rape Crisis Centres also provide face-to-face emotional support, using the same principles of non-judgemental, supportive listening as their helpline, as well as or instead of counselling.
To find out about the specific services your nearest Rape Crisis Centre(s) offer, explore our membership directory by clicking here or on the orange button to the right of this page.
You can contact any of our member Rape Crisis Centres’ helplines to talk to someone and they will support you in finding out what is available in your area.
Please be aware that most helplines are only staffed at certain times of the week due to limited resources. Most have 24-hour answerphones so that you can leave a message and someone will call you back during opening hours if you’d like them to.
Occasionally, you might find it difficult to get through to a Rape Crisis helpline even during their advertised opening hours. This is usually because there is a high demand for the service and the helpline workers are talking to other callers. We appreciate that this can be frustrating, sometimes upsetting, and disheartening, especially if it’s your first call and you’ve been thinking about ringing for a long time. If this happens, please keep trying; we know how difficult it can be to call but we’re here for you and we want to listen.
You can also call the national Rape Crisis helpline, run by our member Centre, Rape Crisis South London for support and information about services near you.