Support available during the COVID-19 pandemic, for those affected by sexual abuse


May 6, 2020 | By Bev Mercer |

May 6, 2020 | By Bev Mercer |

We are currently living in unprecedented times with our daily lives considerably and dramatically changed by the essential measures in place to tackle and overcome coronavirus.

It is accepted and understood that the measures of staying at home during this period of lockdown, resulting in isolation and missing face to face social contact and interaction with others such as family, friends or professionals can mean some people may experience significant anxiety and other mental health difficulties. Staying connected and being able to access support at these difficult and uncertain times can therefore be vital, particularly as issues surrounding mental health may be considerably heightened for those individuals who have suffered sexual abuse or exploitation in the past or may be at risk of or currently experiencing abuse or exploitation.

There is help and support available which is free and confidential.

You do not have to report sexual abuse or exploitation to the police to receive help and support but if you are at risk of or suffering abuse call 999 and if you are unable to speak due to being in immediate danger then press 55 (from a mobile phone) to enable the operator to transfer the call to the police.

There are a number of services available to those who may just need to talk, report abuse or are experiencing a crisis.

The government has published on their website a list of organisations and services, details of which can be found below:


  • Victim Supportline :  Provides a 24/7 supportline offering emotional and practical support for anyone who has been a victim of crime or a witness who needs support or information. Telephone: 0808 1689 111 – Information can also be found online at www.victimsupport.org.uk
  • Rape Crisis Helpline: A national helpline. It offers confidential emotional support, information and referral details. Telephone: 0808 802 9999
  • Rape Crisis Live Chat: Live Chat, run by Rape Crisis England & Wales is a free, text-based, confidential emotional support service for women and girls aged 16 and over who have experienced sexual violence. For more information please go to www.rapecrisis.org.uk.
  • The Survivors Trust: provides confidential information, advice and support for women, men and young people, their parents/carers or partners via a helpline or email. Telephone: 08088 010818 Email: info@thesurvivorstrust.org, www.thesurvivorstrust.org
  • National Male Survivor Helpline and Online Service: The National Male Survivor Helpline is a confidential helpline for male victims of sexual violence and abuse. They also provide emotional support via telephone, SMS (text) and email. Telephone: 0808 800 5005, Email: support@safeline.org.uk, Text: 07860 027573
  • The National Male Rape and Sexual Abuse webchat support service can be found at www.survivorsuk.org
  • Galop: – If you are a member of the LGBT+ community and experienced sexual assault, abuse, or violence, Galop runs a specialist helpline. Telephone: 0800 999 5428, Email: help@galop.org.uk 
  • NAPAC (National Association for People Abused in Childhood): offers support to adult survivors of all types of childhood abuse, including physical, sexual, emotional abuse or neglect. NAPAC’s website offers a large range of resources for survivors, as well as those who care for and work with them. NAPAC also offer a support email service for those who feel more comfortable seeking support in writing. Private and confidential helpline: 0808 801 0331, Email: support@napac.org.uk
  • Sexual Assault Referral Centres: SARCs are specialist medical and forensic services providing free of charge, non-judgmental advice and support for anyone (women, men, young people and children) who has been raped or sexually assaulted. SARCs are comfortable environments, providing a safe and private space for interviews and forensic examinations, and some may also offer sexual health and counselling services. Specialist staff are trained to help regardless of when or where the incident happened and will help the victim/ survivor make informed decisions about what they want to do next. To find a SARC near you please visit the NHS website.

Others include:

MACSAS: provides support for men and women who have experienced abuse as children or adults by ministers or the clergy. Telephone: 08088 01 03 40, Helpline enquiries: helpline@macsas.org.uk

Pace (Parents Against Child Sexual Exploitation) works alongside parents and carers of children who are, or are at risk of being, sexually exploited. Telephone 0113 240 5226.

Alternatively, you could call your own General Practitioner.

The child abuse team at Switalskis Solicitors represent survivors of child sexual exploitation and grooming and has extensive experience helping those who have been affected by child abuse to achieve justice.

Switalskis has many years of experience in acting for victims of abuse, including those at schools.   If you would like to speak to one of our experienced team of solicitors for advice we can guarantee that you will be dealt with sensitively and in the utmost confidence.

If you, or anyone you know, has been subjected to abuse as a child and would like a confidential chat, please do not hesitate to call our Child Abuse compensation team on our 24-hour confidential helpline 0800 138 4700 or contact us through the website.

Bev Mercer

Bev Mercer is a Solicitor in our Child Abuse Compensation team and is based at our Wakefield office. She qualified as a Solicitor in 2001 and joined Switalskis in April 2013. Child Abuse Compensation is regularly in the news and Bev blogs about new developments and significant cases. Bev's profile

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