Reporting options

These web pages are here to provide you with options for reporting an incident to the police or to the University, if the perpetrator is also a Keele student. Please remember that the Sexual Violence Prevention and Support team will never push you into making a formal report if you don't wish to, but we want to provide all the information you need to make an informed decision.


What to do

If you have recently been sexually assaulted (within the past 10 days) you may want to attend the Sexual Assault Referral Centre. You can contact the centre on 0800 970 0372 any time 24/7. A Crisis Worker will listen to what has happened to you and explain how they can help and what options are available to you. You can visit the SARC whether you wish to make a report to the police or not. 

If you feel like you or someone else may still be at risk, or you are injured or need medical assistance, contact:

  • Police/Ambulance: 999
  • Campus Safety Team: +44(0)1782 733999

If you are not at risk, find somewhere safe and warm and consider calling somebody you trust to support you. You do not have to disclose what has happened until you feel ready, but you might find it helpful to find someone who can be with you or speak to you so you’re not alone.

You don’t have to make a report to the police, and survivors often need time before making that decision.

If you think you do want to make a report, or you might want to in the future, preserving evidence can help the police with their investigation. The Sexual Assault Referral Centre in Cobridge can help preserve evidence and store it until you have made your decision about informing the police.

To preserve evidence, try not to:

  • Use the toilet or discard underwear or sanitary products

  • Wash, shower, bathe or shave

  • Wash your hands

  • Remove, wash, discard or destroy clothing worn, or bedding and towels used at the time of the incident or subsequent to it

  • Drink or eat anything, including non-essential medication

  • Clean your teeth

  • Smoke

  • Disturb the scene or allow other people or animals to enter area where the incident took place, where possible.

Non-physical evidence, such as relevant texts, social media messages and emails should also be preserved.

There are different ways that reports can be made to the police. It does not matter when the offence took place.

By telephone

  • In an emergency you should contact the police on 999
  • If it is not an emergency, you can call 101 and ask for the local police force

Visiting a local police station

You can find the nearest police station through the local police force website. If you go to a police station, an officer will take your initial complaint. Ideally this will be done by a specially trained officer, but in practise sometimes there are no
specially trained officers available.

Contacting the local police force online

You can make a report online. If the incident took place in the area local to Keele, the local force is Staffordshire Police who provide an online reporting form.

Anonymous reporting

If you want to report the incident but you don't want to the police to know your identity, you can call Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 or visit

This is an important consideration as this means information will then be held on police systems and the PND (Police National Database). The PND is a system used by all UK police forces that records information and intelligence.

Third party reporting

If you do not want to contact the police yourself, someone else – who would formally be described as ‘a third party’ – can make a report to the police on their behalf. A third party does not have to reveal who the victim is. They can report as much or as little detail as they wish. This can still be useful to the police now or in the future.

When a crime is first reported, the informant will be asked about details such as:

  • whether there are any risks to anyone’s ongoing safety
  • what happened
  • any injuries the person might have, and whether they need medical help
  • if they know the person(s) responsible or if they can describe them
  • when and where the offence happened
  • whether there are any witnesses

These questions help the police to start an investigation and understand if there is a  risk of further harm. Notes from these initial police reports may be used if the case goes to court. If the initial report is made over the telephone, a transcript may be used.

When a crime is reported there will be given a crime reference number. When contacting the police about after the initial report, this number will help to identify the case within the police system.

The next stages would be a police interview and gathering evidence, including statements, physical, forensic and digital. The police would then review all evidence which may then lead to one of the following outcomes:

  • No further action
  • Further investigation
  • Suspect charged
  • Case taken to court
  • Conviction

A Sexual Assault Referral Centre (SARC) is a special facility where recent survivors of rape or sexual assault can receive immediate help and support. This includes access to a forensic medical examination, which is carried out by an experienced and qualified healthcare professional, and the opportunity to speak to the police about what has happened to them if they wish to do so. SARC clients also receive help and advice from a Crisis Worker who can offer to support them and stay with them throughout the process, so you won't go through this alone.

The local SARC to Keele is Grange Park which is based in Cobridge, Stoke-on-Trent. It is a centre providing services to men, women and children living in the Staffordshire area, who have been raped or sexually assaulted. At Grange Park you can access a range of services that are free and confidential - view more information and contact details.

If you need to attend the SARC in an emergency situation, please contact the Campus Safety Team who can help to arrange transport free of charge.

  • The SARC phone line 0800 970 0372 is available 24/7. Even if you're not sure if you can access SARC services, you can still contact them for help and advice.
  • If you want to self-refer to the SARC but not report to the police, contact them on the helpline and they will advise of a suitable time for you to attend.
  • If you report directly to the police, they will make the arrangements for you to attend SARC.
  • Please note, SARC clients are encouraged to attend alone. This is due to confidentiality and forensic reasons. However, you will be supported by a Crisis Worker the whole time you are there.

If the person who committed the sexual violence is a student at Keele, you may decide you want to make a formal complaint to the University under Regulation B1: Student Discipline. When the University receives a formal complaint, an investigation is conducted, during which all relevant and available evidence will be collected.

You will be asked to submit a Serious Incident Statement and to take part in an interview with the investigating officer; your Sexual Violence Liaison Officer can support you both before and during the interview. If you are concerned about coming into contact with the accused student, temporary measures can be put in place to reduce that risk.

If your case is being investigated by the police, the University will be required to suspend its investigation until that process has been completed. However, temporary measures can be put in place while the police conduct their investigation.

There is more information about student discipline procedures available here, or you can speak to the your SVLO before making your final decision.

You might decide not to report the incident to the police or the university. This is completely your decision and you will be respected and supported in whatever decision you make. No one will judge or blame you. You can still speak to a member of the University’s Sexual Violence Prevention and Support Team who will support you, even without making a formal report.

Sometimes, survivors of sexual violence change their minds about reporting to the police and/or university, once they have had some time to process what has happened.  With that in mind, it would be useful, where appropriate, to take photographs of the scene of the incident and keep any relevant clothes, bedding, text messages or emails etc as these can then be used if you decide to report what happened in the future.

In some cases where there are safeguarding concerns, such as there being a risk to a child, vulnerable adult or the wider campus community, or where a named alleged perpetrator is studying on a professional course such as medicine, we may be professional obliged to report your concerns further. We will inform you of the reasons for doing this if this is the case.

If you choose not to report the incident to the police, you can still access the services of the local Sexual Assault Referral Centre (SARC). The team at the SARC can see you without police involvement and book you an appointment as a self-referral during standard office hours Monday to Friday 9am to 5pm. They can collect evidence in case you later decide to report the incident and can also provide you with emergency contraception and sexual health screening.


If you or someone else is in danger, please call +44(0)1782 733999 for our Campus Safety Team, or 999 for the emergency services.