I’m not sure if what happened to me is a sexual assault. What should I do?
Some victims of sexual assault may be unsure if a crime was committed. For instance, some victims do not know that in this country a husband may not force his wife to have sex with him. Some victims may not remember clearly what happened to them, particularly when drinking is involved. If you think you may have been sexually assaulted, you should make a report.
What if I’m not comfortable talking about what happened to me?
The NYPD and Manhattan District Attorney’s Office have dedicated sex crimes units with detectives and lawyers trained to handle these cases. We have extensive experience and specialized training to be sensitive to your concerns as a survivor of sexual assault. We will make you comfortable, explain the steps of the process to you, and answer your questions. Most of all, we understand that what happened to you is not your fault.
I never saw the face of the person who attacked me. Should I still report the incident?
In some cases, the victim never sees the face of the person who committed the attack. DNA evidence can prove who did the crime, even if you can’t identify anyone. In addition to physical evidence collected at the hospital, evidence collected by the police at the crime scene, such as bed linens, clothing, and items touched by the offender, can identify the person who committed the crime. The police and the District Attorney’s Office can also gather other types of physical evidence, such as surveillance videos and telephone and computer records, that can help identify your attacker.
If you have just been sexually assaulted, get help immediately. Call 911. Police officers will come to where you are and take you to a hospital, so that you can be treated and DNA evidence can be collected. The hospital will photograph any injuries.
If you don’t want to report what happened to you, you should still go to the hospital, both for your own health and so that evidence can be collected, which will make a stronger case if you later decide to make a report. You can also call the Sex Crimes Unit at the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office for guidance at 212-335-9373.
If you were sexually assaulted in the past but never reported it, you still can. Call the NYPD’s rape hotline 212-267-RAPE (7273) or our Office’s Sex Crimes Helpline at 212-335-9373.
You can also contact our Work-Related Sexual Violence team at 212-335-9373.
Our Office’s Witness Aid Services Unit and Northern Manhattan Office can help you obtain a variety of services, including:
- Individual or group counseling
- Appointments for medical examination or treatment
- Transportation to court proceedings
- Advocacy on your behalf with other agencies
- Introductions to other crisis counseling agencies
Manhattan Family Justice Center
Our Manhattan Family Justice Center at 80 Centre Street has a child-friendly waiting room and play area so that children and families can be at ease in our Office. We have social services staff on-site who can connect you with individual counseling, family counseling, medical treatment, housing issues, and safety planning.
80 Centre Street, 5th Floor
New York, NY 10013
Safe Horizon Sexual Assault Hotline
Provides comprehensive services to victims of rape and sexual assault that range from in-house assistance to referrals for services that range from medical assistance to counseling. Services are available citywide in English, Spanish, French, Arabic, and other languages.
Sanctuary for Families
Provides domestic violence victims and their children with shelter/housing assistance, counseling, advocacy, referrals, support groups, and legal services. Services are available in English, Spanish, French, and other languages.
Barrier-Free Living, Inc
Provides services to sexual assault and domestic violence victims with disabilities, including advocacy, individual counseling, support groups, skills training, shelter referrals and help in obtaining orders of protection. Services are available citywide in English, Spanish, and Sign Language.
Provides crisis intervention, safe shelter, counseling, advocacy, and community education with specific consideration to unique issues faced by Asian battered women. Services are available in English, Chinese, Hindi, and other Asian languages or dialects.
New York City Anti-Violence Project
212-714-1141 (24-Hour Hotline)
Provides services to gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender victims, including counseling, advocacy for legal issues, support groups, and community education.