Rape and Sexual Assault

Rape and sexual assault are two of the most serious of all criminal offences. They can inflict lasting trauma on victims and have a devastating effect on their families.

There is a general perception that most rapes and sexual assaults are committed by men against women and they are not known to each other. In fact, the majority of rape victims know their offender, and rape is an offence committed against men and women.

Cheshire Constabulary understands what really matters is how victims are treated, focusing on:

  • Their immediate needs, medical or otherwise,
  • Dealing with victims properly and sensitively
  • Ensuring they know they have been believed.

Additionally, we will follow every possible line of enquiry in an attempt to bring any perpetrator to justice.

girl victim

We are here to help victims of rape to feel confident in getting a positive outcome from the criminal justice system.

Remember, if you have experienced any form of sexual assault or violence at any time in your life, it is not your fault. The fault lies with the person who abused you – the perpetrator.

Rape and Sexual Assault - the legal definition

The definition of rape changed following the implementation of the Sexual Offences Act 2003 which came into effect on 1st May 2007.

The Act extends the definition of rape and for the first time defines the meaning of the word 'consent'

A person consents if he or she agrees by choice and has the freedom and capacity to make that choice.

The law does not require the victim to have resisted physically and ultimately it is up to the jury to decide whether the victim consented.

A full copy of the Sexual Offences Act 2003, and an explanatory note can be found on the               Office of Public Sector Information website.

Teenage rape prevention

The teenage rape prevention campaign, launched on 5th March 2012, aims to prevent teenagers from becoming victims and perpetrators of sexual violence and abuse.

As part of the violence against women and girls action plan, the campaign encourages teenagers to re-think their views of rape, sexual assault, violence and abuse, and direct them to places for help and advice.

Building on the success of the campaign against teenage relationship abuse, this campaign targets 13-18 year old boys and girls to specifically focus on rape and sexual assault. The campaign aims to:

  • Raise awareness of the issue of rape and sexual violence
  • Improve understanding of what constitutes rape, sexual assault and consent
  • Empower young people to avoid, challenge and report sexually violent behaviour.

The campaign website, This is ABUSE, gives teenagers the chance to discuss the issues with their peers and get access to third party support and advice.

Do you know if your teenager is in an abusive relationship?

If you are concerned that your teenager may be in an abusive relationship, visit the This is ABUSE website.

Keeping yourself and your friends safe

  • Arrange your transport to and from home before you go out for the night
  • Make sure someone knows where you are going and what time you will be home
  • Don't let friends go off alone with someone, or do something they wouldn't normally do
  • Don't get yourself into a situation where you are isolated away from other people. Stay in a group
  • Although drink spiking is extremely rare, don't leave your drink unattended at any time and never accept a drink from someone you do not completely trust
  • If someone attempts to engage you in sexual activity that is unwanted, say no and make it clear that you do not give your consent. Get away from the situation as soon as possible and tell someone about it
  • If someone you know has been raped, you should encourage them to report it to police straight away. Make sure to keep any clothing and to not interfere with where the offence took place. Make sure they do not wash themselves or any clothing to maintain any vital forensic evidence

Remember, call 999 in an emergency. Anyone with information about a crime can contact Cheshire Police on the non-emergency number of 101. You can also call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

Advice for young people

Cheshire Police have created Upbeat, a site which offers advice and information for young people.

Report it

In an emergency always dial 999

Non emergencies - 101

Crimestoppers - 0800 555 111