Frequently asked questions

How can The Ferns help me?

Our specialist centre offers a range of services to give you the best care possible, suited to your individual needs:

Medical help
You can see one of our specially trained doctors who will carry out a forensic medial examination, with your consent. The examination will take place in one of our fully equipped suites, specially designed to protect your dignity and privacy.

The purpose of the examination is to look after you immediate needs and to collect forensic evidence from you with your permission. If you have decided not to report to the police, the doctor can collect samples that will then be stored until you have decided whether or not you would like to talk to them. We can also provide advice for sexually transmitted infections and support you through any follow-on-care.

Emergency contraception
We can provide a range of emergency contraception, our specially trained doctor will discuss these options with you.

Pregnancy testing
If you think you may be pregnant as a result of an assault, we can offer you pregnancy testing and support you with this.

When you first attend The Ferns, you will be met by a Crisis Worker who will give you information and talk to you about your options.

Whether you talk to the police or not, we can still offer you support and discuss the issue of counselling further with you.

The Ferns can assist you in accessing the services of partner agencies, who can provide specialist independent therapeutic support for the after effects of rape and sexual assault.

Your safety is very important to us, and we give advice if you have safety concerns following a sexual assault.

If you are concerned for your safety at any time, please contact the police. In an emergency, dial 999.


Who is at The Ferns?

We have a team of dedicated professionals; committed to providing help and support from the moment you contact us:

Crisis Workers
A Crisis Worker will be available to support you throughout your time at The Ferns.

Forensic Medical Examiner
If you choose to have a forensic medical examination, a specially trained doctor will come to the centre to see you. With your consent they may take samples for evidence. The doctor will also aim to address any immediate health concerns.

Independent Sexual Violence Advisor (ISVA)
After your initial contact with The Ferns, your Crisis Worker will ask an ISVA to get in touch with you.

They will give practical and emotional support such as with appointments or advocating on your behalf with services and agencies if you wish.
Your ISVA can accompany you and support you through the police and court process if you are taking this route.

Specially trained Police Officer
If you decide you wish the police to be involved, then a specially trained police officer will attend The Ferns to speak to you.


What to do if you are sexually assaulted or raped:

  • If you do not want the police involved and you are not in danger, contact: The Ferns Tel: 01473 668974 (9 to 5) Email: [email protected]
  • Save all of the clothing you were wearing at the time of the assault, unwashed and if possible, place in a paper bag
  • Shower, bath or wash.
  • Brush your teeth.
  • Disturb anything in the area where the assault occurred
  • If you have been raped or sexually assaulted and you require emergency police assistance, call 999 and get to a safe place.

Phone lines are open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and a member of staff will support you and give you options of what steps you can take next. You do not have to go through a GP or another professional to speak to us, you can simply contact us direct.


In an emergency situation, if you do not feel safe, dial 999


The right people to help you

All our staff are highly skilled and trained to deal with people who have been raped or sexually assaulted. They will offer initial and ongoing support, whatever you choose to do.

Rape:Time to stop