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There is a great deal of assistance and help available for sexual assault victims, though the amount available can vary slightly depending on the location of a victim. In general, however, there are numerous agencies that exist to help victims of sexual assault and these agencies can provide medical and legal information, as well as advocates who work with and assist victims of sexual assault. Family and friends can also often provide help for sexual assault victims, especially when they are willing to understand what happened and make efforts to be actively helpful.
Help for sexual assault victims can come in a number of different forms, and the nature of a particular assault can determine some of the help that is immediately relevant. Anyone who suffers physical injury during a sexual assault should contact medical services for help immediately, often by going to a hospital or having a trusted friend or family member transport the person to a hospital. There are also a number of agencies and groups that exist to provide assistance to sexual assault victims, including the National Center for Victims of Crime (NCVC) and the Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network (RAINN).
These groups can often provide sexual assault victims with trained and experienced professionals who can help victims in a number of different ways. Advocates can be found through such groups who can work with victims to help them through medical and legal procedures the victim may go through. Research has found that more victims are willing to report a sexual assault to law enforcement when assisted by an advocate, and that such reports are often done with greater confidence and a stronger sense of protection due to the advocate. Reporting a sexual assault can involve a great deal of stress and discomfort; having an advocate to help can often make the process easier.
There are also a number of groups and organizations that exist on the Internet to provide help for sexual assault victims. These include An Abuse, Rape, and Domestic Violence Aid and Resource Collection (AARDVARC), Pandora’s Project, and websites for RAINN and NCVC. Care should be taken when looking for online help for sexual assault victims, however, as the anonymity of the Internet can create opportunities for further abuse or harassment online.
Family and friends of sexual assault victims can also be vital sources of help following an assault. Feelings of helplessness and loss of control can be common after such an assault, and isolation can make these feelings more intense. The family and friends of someone who is assaulted should try to understand the needs of the victim, and allow that person to feel comfortable and safe whenever possible. Many groups, such as RAINN and NCVC, can also provide assistance to friends and family members to help them understand how to better help their loved ones.