RASASC received a referral following a stranger rape.
During the initial contact it was clear that the Sarah was reluctant to engage with the service. The ISVA explained her role and gave reassurance that it was ok to decline the service. The ISVA was able to establish a rapport with the client and was able to check that a follow-up appointment had been made for sexual health checks.
One week later Sarah called the office to request a meeting. At the initial meeting Sarah was very anxious about the possibility of going to court and was frightened to go out of an evening. She had good family support and an understanding manager who had told the client to take as much time off work as required.
At this time Sarah was not engaging with the police, as the police reminded her of the attack. The ISVA agreed to be the point of contact and would track the court appearances of the assailant via the witness care unit. The ISVA kept in touch with the Sarah on a monthly basis via text. This eventually led to telephone support as the client began to grow in confidence. Help and support was given to the client to access the benefits system and address some housing needs.
The assailant pleaded not guilty and a trial date was set. The client declined a pre-trial visit as she feared that it would make her not want to attend on the day. The ISVA was able to describe the court room and waiting areas to the client and helped the client to make some choices regarding how she would get to court. The client opted for a named police officer to collect her and take her to court.
By the time the court date came the client had grown in confidence and had decided to go into court with screens (she had initially requested a video link room). The ISVA met Sarah at the court on the day and the client was given the opportunity to view the court. The perpetrator was a repeat offender. He changed his plea when he got to court and was given a substantial custodial sentence.
Following the sentence Sarah sent a thank you card to the office - one of her comments was “I would not have gone through with this had it not been for the amazing support of one or two people – the ISVA being my number one”.
The client decided to resign from work and made a decision to train for a career in social work and is now looking forward to some life changes.
* Sarah is not the victim's real name.