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Are you aged 13-18?

If the rape or sexual assault happened in the past or more recently, we are here to help you decide what action you wish to take.


No one should ever make you do things that make you feel embarrassed or uncomfortable. If someone asks to do something with you sexually that you are uncomfortable with, say ‘NO’ – and tell someone you trust.

You always have the right to say ‘no’ – even to a family member or someone you love. You’re in control of your body and the most important thing is how you feel. Telling someone you don’t want to do something can sometimes be difficult but if you want to say ‘No’, it’s your choice. It’s normal to worry about disappointing them, especially if you like them. But you don’t have to apologise or explain yourself. Just saying “no” or “stop” is enough. 

Consent is when a person agrees to a sexual activity of any kind. If a person says yes to a sexual act because they are scared of what might happen, this is not consent. If someone has drunk too much alcohol or taken drugs they may not know what they are doing, and this means they would not be able to give consent

If a person is in a relationship with someone else, or they have had sex before, this does not mean that they have given consent to any further sexual activity.

If you are under 18 years old we will always discuss the ways we can keep you safe, this is known as safeguarding. If this has not already been done then The Ferns will need to submit a safeguarding form with you. We will explain this to you and discuss the reasons why we need to do this. Any thoughts, wishes or concerns you have can be included on the form. 

Frequently Asked Questions

What happens when I come to The Ferns?

Our nurses will discuss what happened with the police while you are looked after by a lady called a Crisis Worker.

The nurse will then carry out a full medical assessment with you. Your Crisis Worker will be there and you can also have your parent or carer in the room if you want them to be.

We’ll ask you some questions and you can ask questions too. A head-to-toe examination, and samples for tests will be taken, this will be a forensic examination.

If we find anything we are worried about or treatments needed this will be discussed after the examination. The police will then talk to you about what will happen next.

When I visit can I eat and drink?

Yes, although sometimes police will need to take swabs or rinse from your mouth first. We have food and drink we can give you whilst you are with us.

How long will it take?

The average time someone will spend here when they come for a forensic examination is approximately 4 hours.

What if I change my mind?

If at any point you do not wish to carry on with the examination we can take a short break and discuss what part of the examination is left to do and see if we can get the most important information.

Who will be in the examination room?

There will be a female nurse and a female crisis worker in the room during the examination. You can have someone else in the room with you, if that is what you want.

Will I be able to change my clothes?

Yes. Sometimes it is useful for the police to take the clothes you have been wearing, this is for evidence. We have a shower and changing facilities. We will give you a change of clothes, unless the police have already asked you to bring your own.

What will happen during the examination?

The nurse will want to have a careful look at you to check for any injuries and to make sure you are OK. A general examination is done first to check your general health and to look for any injuries. Photographs may also be taken if injuries can be seen. The nurse will need to take specific swabs, blood and a urine sample. Swabs are taken with a sterile cotton wool bud.

The nurse will explain what they are doing at all times.

Can I be tested for sexually transmitted infections (STIs)?

We strongly recommend that young people who have been sexually assaulted or raped have a full Sexually Transmitted Infections (STI) aftercare appointment.

This is not carried out at The Ferns. We will make you an appointment to attend your local sexual health clinic.

What will happen after my examination?

The nurse will then spend some time with you talking about further needs you might have, this is known as aftercare and can include contraception, vaccinations and STI testing. We will also tell you about our Independent Sexual Violence Advisor (ISVA) who will support you before and during a court case. This will be done with your consent. The ISVA can also help you get further help, such as counselling.

With your consent the nurse can let your school nurse/mentor or a teacher know of your visit here in case of future difficulties at school or college. All phone calls and letters are kept confidential and little information is passed on.