Reporting to the Police
The staff in your local Rape Crisis Centre will give you, or help you to get, all the information you need so that you can decide whether to report the assault to the police or not. If you decide to go to the police, we can arrange this for you. An Garda Síochána is the police force in the Republic of Ireland. The Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) is the police force in Northern Ireland. If you prefer, you can give your statement to the police in the Rape Crisis Centre rather than at the police station.
If you decide to go to the police, the following information will help you:
- Bring someone you feel comfortable with. You have the right to have them stay with you. If they are present while your statement is taken, their details need to be included and they may be called as witnesses. For this reason, the police may ask that they sit outside for the actual taking of the statement. However, if you want the person to be present, you can insist on it.
- Make a note of the names of any police officers or detectives you have significant contact with from the time you first report the rape or assault.
- You may ask to speak to a female police officer, if you prefer.
- If you are reporting a recent assault, take a full change of clothes with you as the police may keep the clothes you were wearing to gather forensic evidence.
- Do not take any alcohol or drugs, but if you have done so or are still under the influence this should not stop you from reporting.
- If reporting an assault or rape, report it as soon as possible. There is no time limit but valuable forensic evidence is quickly lost.
- The police will ask you a lot of questions but these should be relevant to your case.
- You can ask for a break at any time.
- You will be asked to make a written statement. This is a detailed description of what happened before, during and after the assault. Make sure you read your statement carefully and change it if necessary, before you sign it. You have the right to, and should ask for, a typed copy. If you remember other details later on, you can make a supplementary statement.
- If the man who assaulted you can be identified, the police may interview him soon after you make your statement.
- If don’t know the man who assaulted you and the police arrest a suspect, they may ask you to look at photographs, attend an identity parade or go with police to where the assault happened to try to identify the man.
If you feel you are not being treated well by the police at any stage, you can insist on seeing the duty officer or you can make a formal complaint.