Below are some questions that we get asked a lot but if you have something that you want to ask us then just give the team a call on 0161 276 6515.
What will happen during the forensic examination?
Will the examination hurt me?
A:The doctor will want to have a careful look at you to check for any injuires and make sure you are OK.The examination should not be painful.The doctor will explain what she is doing and you can ask the doctor to stop at any point.
How long will it take?
A: The average time someone is at the centre when they come for a forensic examination is 3 hours.
Only part of this is having the forensic examination. That might take 20 to 30 minutes. It will vary from person to person.
Who will be in the room?
A: As well as the doctor there will be the crisis worker in the room during the examination. You are more than welcome to have someone else also in the room with you if that is what you want. Some people would rather it just be the crisis worker and doctor, others would like a friend or relative to be with them. It is your choice.
Can a friend or member of my family come in with me?
A: Yes. If you would like someone else to come with you to the centre that is OK. It is your choice. They can wait in our lounge area or sit in with you during the examination, which ever you would prefer.
Will the doctor be male or female?
A: All of the St Mary’s doctors are female. Very occasionally a person would like to be seen by a male doctor. If you would like to be seen by a male doctor, let us know and we will try to arrange that.
Q: Will I be able to change my clothes?
A: Yes. Sometimes it is useful for us to take the clothes you have been wearing as evidence for the investigation. If you can bring a change of clothes with you then please do so, otherwise we can provide clothing for you.
What happens if I make a report the police?
Do I have to report it to the Police straight away?
A : You don’t have to do anything you don’t want to do. You can access all the services at St. Mary’s, including the forensic medical examination with or without the Police involved. You may feel able/want to make a report to the police at a later stage. The staff at the Centre can support you with this.
Q: How long will it take to get to court?
A: Not all cases will proceed to court for a number of reasons, however if you case does progress it may take up to nine months to get to court.
Q: Will I get any help during the court case?
A: The Independent Sexual Violence Advisor (ISVA) will keep you informed and can help you through this time.
Q. Will I meet my solicitor or barrister?
A: It is unusual to meet your solicitor or barrister before the court date, however your ISVA and investigating officer will keep you informed about how your case is progressing.
Q: Can I receive compensation?
A: You may be entitled to criminal injuries compensation. Your ISVA will discuss this with you and help you complete any necessary forms where appropriate.
Q: Will my family and friends have to be told?
A: You choose who you tell. The Centre will not tell anyone you have attended without your consent (unless we are concerned about your safety in which case we will discuss this with you). However it might be better to tell those closest to you so that they can help and support you.
Q: What if there is no conviction?
A: A conviction can only be made when the jury decide that the defendant is guilty beyond reasonable doubt. If there is no conviction that does not mean that you were not believed but that there was not sufficient evidence to support the case.
How does the counselling service work?
Q: How long does each session last?
A: Each session lasts 50 minutes.
How often will I see my counsellor?
A: You will be given an initial appointment with a counsellor who will explain the counselling service and make sure that the Centre can provide what you need. If the counselling service is right for you, you will receive six sessions initially with a review at the end to assess whether you need further sessions.
Q: Will they come to my house?
A: The St. Mary’s Counselling team cannot offer home appointments at this moment in time, however if you feel unable to attend the Centre we can make a referral to a service nearer to home or we can ask Victim Support to provide you some support in your own home.
Q: What qualifications do the counsellors have?
A: The counsellors all have a Diploma in Counselling; some have higher qualifications. All have extensive experience in working with people who have experienced sexual violence.
Q. Will they speak to anyone about my case?
A: The counsellor must have counselling supervision, where they can discuss cases to ensure they are providing you with a safe counselling relationship, however they will not discuss anything that would identify you. Your counsellor will discuss supervision with you on your first meeting.
Q. Can I speak to my counsellor whenever I want to?
A: It is not always possible to speak to your counsellor whenever you want to. However the Centre has crisis workers 24 hours a day to support you with any immediate issues.
Q: Do I have to pay for counselling?
A: The counselling at the Centre is free.