Everyone you will meet at the Havens has specialist training. This means you will get the best care and support possible.
We will treat you with respect and do all we can to support you. You can talk to us, trust us and rely on us to help you, both at your first appointment and afterwards, if you come back to us for follow-up care and ongoing support.
Once you are at one of the Havens centres, you will see only members of our team. The police are only involved if you want them to be.
Here we explain who you may meet and how they can help you.
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Your crisis worker will explain and support your choices and guide you through what happens at the Haven. They will stay with you the whole time.They meet you when you first arrive and will talk with you about your choices and any care you need. They stay with you while you have a forensic medical examination, if you decide to have one. They also help to arrange any follow-up care you need. You have this either at the Havens or at another suitable place.
If you decide to have a forensic medical examination at the Havens, it will be carried out by a specially trained doctor or nurse called a sexual offences examiner. All of the sexual offences examiners at the Havens are women. She will also provide you with, or advise you about, any medical treatment you need, such as emergency contraception and basic first aid. She will explain when to come back for any follow-up medical care, such as tests for sexually transmitted infections (STIs).
If you contact the police to report the assault – either yourself or through the Havens – you will meet a Sexual Offences Investigative Trained officer (SOIT). They are your main police point of contact. The SOIT officer will support and guide you through every stage, including the investigation and going to court. They will keep you informed about how the investigation is going and answer your questions. They will provide care, support and information in a sensitive and compassionate manner.
The SOIT officer will bring you to your appointment at the Haven if you spoke with the police first. They will also take you home or to a place of safety. The Metropolitan Police website has more detailed information about what happens if you decide to report an assault or rape.
When a child under the age of 18 has been assaulted, a specialist children’s doctor (paediatrician) may also be involved in the forensic medical examination, medical care and after care. We have male and female paediatricians working at the Havens.
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If you are aged 13 – 18 you can talk to a young person’s worker as part of your follow-up care. They are specially trained and very experienced. They are your point of contact with the Havens. They act as your advocate, which means they make sure you get all the support and advice you need, and help you to get follow-up medical care. You can talk to them in confidence if you have any worries. If you want, they can arrange for you to see a counsellor if you are finding it difficult to cope.
All of our experienced and qualified counsellors are women. You can talk to your counsellor to help you understand how you are feeling and thinking about what has happened. She will help you to cope and come to terms with the effect it has had on you and your life.
She will offer you a session to start with to find out what support you need and if the Haven service is right for you. If you both feel that counselling at the Haven will be helpful, your counsellor will offer you between six and 12 weekly sessions. If she thinks you need specialist help that is best given elsewhere, she will discuss this with you and refer you if necessary.
Our clinical psychologists are experienced professionals who have specialist training in helping people deal with psychological reactions to trauma, such as post-traumatic stress disorder. They aim to help you come to terms with the assault and to cope with the symptoms such as nightmares, sleep problems, anxiety, depression, irritability and anger.
Independent advocates – known as ISVAs – offer you specialist help if you have experienced serious sexual violence. They are independent of the police, the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) and the courts. They can support you with a wide range of issues including preparing you for the court process, going with you to court, and speaking to the police, CPS and others if you have not been treated well.
Everyone at the Havens will respect your cultural and religious beliefs. We will do all we can to support you after your sexual assault. But you may find it very difficult to ask for help after a rape or sexual assault because of cultural, religious, sexual or family honour reasons.
We have a female Asian development worker based at the Havens centre in Whitechapel. She helps women from a south-Asian background feel more comfortable. She will understand the personal and social difficulties you face. You can talk to her about what has happened and your situation. She will answer your questions and discuss your concerns about the services we offer at the Havens.
To talk to the Asian development worker, you will need to make an appointment at the Haven in Whitechapel. Just tell any of our staff and they will arrange it for you.
If it is difficult for you to travel to Whitechapel, or you prefer to talk to her on the phone, you can call her direct at the Haven Whitechapel on 020 7247 4787.