If you've suffered a traumatic experience, such as a sexual assault, you are likely to be feeling shocked along with a wide range of further emotions. It can be difficult to know what kind of support you need, or what action you want to take.

If you are the victim of an assault, you will need to make a decision about reporting it. If you choose this course of action, you should do so as soon as possible, as this gives the authorities the best chance of collecting evidence. The University's police liaison officer could be your first port of call (contact details below). There are also other specialist organisations.

If you decide not to get specialist support then it is strongly advisable to consult your GP as soon as possible. Also, let your personal tutor know if your studies are affected.

You are also strongly encouraged to seek support from one or more of the following services if you have been the victim of a sexual assault:

Police liaison officer

The University benefits from the services of a police liaison officer, PC Clare Parry, who is experienced in supporting students in relation to police matters. Their contact details are as follows:

Other local services

The following services are recommended by the Student Wellbeing Service:

Sexual Assault Referral Centre (SARC)

SARC is available to anyone, male or female, over the age of 13 who has been a victim of rape or serious sexual assault in Hampshire and the Isle of Wight. The Treetops Centre provides a team of staff to help victims deal with the trauma of rape or serious sexual assault and it's open is open seven days a week from 8.00am–6.00pm.

Portsmouth Abuse and Rape Counselling Service (PARCS)

PARCS (Portsmouth Abuse and Rape Counselling Service) provides free specialist counselling to men and women who are resident in Portsmouth and South East Hampshire, and who have experienced any form of sexual violation at any time in their lives.

Helplines are open Monday (1.00pm–3.00pm), Wednesday and Friday (7.00pm–10.00pm).

Independent Sexual Violence Advocacy Service (ISVA)

The ISVA works with survivors of sexual violence, regardless of how long ago the incident took place or whether it has been reported to the police. It offers emotional and practical support, including help with the criminal justice system if required. The ISVA service can provide clients with information about all their options, including reporting to the police, or accessing the Treetops Centre (see above), and can also put together a package of appropriate support, e.g. referrals for counselling.

Library books

The University library has copies of the following books which could be useful:

  • Ainscough, C - Breaking Free: Help for Survivors of Child Sexual Abuse - 362.86/AIN
  • Kennerley, H - Overcoming Childhood Trauma - 362.88/KEN
  • Matsakis, A - The Rape Recovery Handbook - 362.88/MAT
  • Sandford, L T - Strong at the Broken Places: Overcoming the Trauma of Childhood Sexual Abuse - 362.71/SAN
  • Lews, M - Victim No Longer - 362.88/LEW

Online resources

The Student Wellbeing Service recommends the following self-help resources:

NHS self-help guides

A range of self-help books (available also as MP3 downloads) covering such topics as abuse, anger, bereavement, alcohol, depression, eating disorders, OCD, panic, social anxiety and stress.

Visit website

Rape Crisis

National charity providing crisis and long term specialised counselling, support and independent advocacy for women and girls who have experienced any form of sexual violence both recently and/or in the past, independent of the criminal justice system.

Visit website

Hampshire Domestic Abuse

Support for women experiencing domestic violence as well as helplines and info for men who are abusive to their partners and want to stop this.

Visit website

Survivors UK

Lottery funded organisation offering online information, a helpline (and individual/group counselling for those able to get to London) for men aged 18+ who have experienced childhood sexual abuse or adult sexual assault/rape, as well as their partners/carers.

Visit website

Men's Advice Line

Confidential helpline for men who have been abused in a current or past (heterosexual or same-sex) relationship, providing emotional support, practical advice and information about specialist services that can advise on legal, housing, child contact, mental health and other issues.

Visit website

How to Deal with Anger

MIND leaflet exploring how you can deal with your anger in a healthy and constructive way.

Read leaflet


An LGBT charity aiming to relieve the suffering experienced by lesbians, gay men, bisexual and transgender people from domestic violence and abuse. It raises awareness in the LGBT community and elsewhere of the impact of homophobic, transphobic and same-sex domestic violence on the lives of LGBT people, with a helpline operated by people who are trained and experienced in the specifics of LGBT domestic violence.

Visit website

Other self-help resources

Take a look at our other self-help resources.