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Guidance for victims of rape and other forms of sexual assault in our area

What happens in Benidorm happens here

Guidance for victims of rape and other forms of sexual assault in our area

Guidance for victims of rape and other forms of sexual assault in our area

Prepared by the British Consulate – Alicante and www.gov.uk

Disclaimer: This information is provided by the British Government for the convenience of enquirers, but neither Her Majesty’s Government nor any official of the Consulate accept liability for any loss or damage which you might suffer as a result of relying on the information supplied.  This information is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical or legal advice.

Medical information has been provided by The Havens Sexual Assault Referral Centres of Kings College Hospital NHS Foundation Trust and was accurate at the time of this leaflet’s production.

Alicante Consular District (Alicante, Valencia , Castellón, Albacete provinces and the region of Murcia): information for victims of rape and other forms of sexual assault

This information is provided to help British nationals overseas make decisions about whether and how to seek medical advice and attention; report to local police; and engage with foreign legal authorities following a rape or other form of sexual assault overseas.

For information on support available in the UK, see Rape and Sexual Assault: Returning to the UK at https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/rape-and-sexual-assault-abroad-returning-to-the-uk

First steps

It is your choice about what you do next, but this information may help you in coming to a decision. The most important thing is to make sure that you are as safe as you can be. You can:

  • contact the emergency number in Spain which is 112. If you contact the 112 number you can receive around the clock immediate assistance from any of the emergency services in Spain and they have English-speaking staff.
  • contact your tour operator if you are travelling with one.
  • contact the British Consulate in Alicante on 0034 965 21 60 22 (https://www.gov.uk/world/organisations/british-consulate-alicante/office/british-consulate-alicante)
  • we will help you where we can, and can provide information on local police and medical procedures. Anything you tell us will be treated in the strictest confidence. If you want us to, we can contact your family or friends for you.

If you want to report the incident to the police in the Alicante Consular District

  • If you have a tour operator, they should be able to arrange for someone to support you. If you do not have a tour operator and you contact the British Consulate in Alicante, we will try to send a consular officer to support you.
  • If you choose to report the crime, try to do so as soon as possible, so forensic evidence is not destroyed. Washing yourself or your clothes may make it difficult for the police to obtain forensic evidence. If you change your clothes, think about taking those you were wearing to the police. You should try to preserve evidence by retaining items such as condoms, toothbrushes, or texts.
  • You can approach the police directly either by the emergency telephone number 112, or in person at a police station. At the police station you can also ask them to inform the British Consulate in Alicante (0034 965 21 60 22), which will enable us to provide you with consular support, or you can call us directly.
  • In Spain there are two different law enforcement forces which work at a national level: the Spanish National Police (Policía Nacional) and the Civil Guard (Guardia Civil). There is also “Policía Local” (local police) in each town but Policía Local is not able to take police reports or investigate crimes. If you try to report an incident at a “Policía Local” station you are likely to be referred to the nearest Policía Nacional or Guardia Civil. Large towns such as Benidorm , Alicante, Elche, Valencia and Murcia have Policía Nacional whereas smaller towns are covered by Guardia Civil.
  • The Spanish National Police (Policía Nacional) have 173 UFAM groups (Unidades de la Familia y la Mujer) (https://www.policia.es/org_central/judicial/ufam/donde_ufam.php) throughout Spain specialised in assisting rape and sexual assault victims. However, as many rape and sexual assault reports are filed at the weekend, it may be that the report is taken by a regular police officer at the police station and that the UFAM group contacts you the following day to follow up. You may feel you have given two statements as the specialist teams may wish to go over details again and ask different questions.
  • When you file your report, there is no guarantee that a female officer will be available or that you will be given somewhere private to wait. Very few police officers speak English. An interpreter can be made available but you will almost always have to wait for one to arrive. In smaller towns where there is Guardia Civil not Policía Nacional, there may be even more limited availability of interpreters which may mean you have to wait some time.
  • The types of questions that will be asked include: the identity of the assailant, a description, where and when the incident happened, what happened, the circumstances, and if there were any witnesses. Tell the police if you think you have been drugged. If you would like to be represented by a lawyer and you meet the requirements for legal aid, please tell the police this when you give your statement.
  • You will be asked to read your statement or the interpreter will read it to you to check the information is correct and then you will have to sign it. A copy of this police report (denuncia or atestado in Spanish) should be given to you so please insist you receive a copy. The report will normally only be in Spanish.  You will be given information and also be asked to sign forms confirming you have been informed of your rights as a victim of a violent and/or sexual crime.  This is in accordance with the Victims of Crime Statute Law 4/2015 (Ley 4/2015 del Estatuto de la victim del delito). The information and forms should be available in English. A copy of your statement will be sent immediately to the corresponding court on duty where a Judge and Prosecutor will examine the information you have provided.
  • If a consular officer is available, we can accompany you to the police station and help you to understand what is going on and what to expect next. You do not have to surrender your passport whilst the investigation is carried out although the local authorities will ask you to provide up to date contact details in the UK.
  • The police will usually keep any clothes you were wearing and hand them to a forensic examiner to be used as evidence in court. You will not usually receive these back. They may also take you to the scene of the crime or where you think the attacker may be located. You may also be asked to have a mouth swab taken at the time you make your statement.

If you do not want to report the incident to the police in the Alicante Consular District

  • The British Consulate can still help you. This includes helping you make arrangements to contact your insurance company, your family, travel back to the UK and/or provide you with information on local support in the UK. We can provide you with lists of English-speaking medical facilities, lawyers and translators.
  • If you are travelling with one, you can report the incident to your tour operator and ask them for assistance. Where possible and if you wish, the tour operator may accompany you to the local hospital.
  • It is your choice on whether to report the crime, but if you don’t report it, your case may not be investigated if there is a lack of forensic evidence.
  • If you do not report the crime, you may still be able to get medical attention, but not a forensic examination. If you state that you have suffered a rape or sexual assault or have signs of having suffered physical violence, the local hospital may insist that you first report the matter to the police or may report the matter to the police themselves. It is important to be aware of this before seeking medical help.

If you want to report the incident to the police in the UK

  • You can choose to report the incident to the police in the UK rather than filing the report in Spain and the British police can then request that the Spanish police investigate the crime. However, Spanish police inform us that it is far more difficult for them to investigate and take action when a report has been filed in the UK. They are less likely to have any forensic evidence or be able to carry out any detailed investigation as evidence such as CCTV is normally only kept for a few weeks. If you file a report in the UK, by the time the report reaches Spain, this evidence may have been lost. We are also aware that the transfer of crime report, from the UK to Spain, can take a considerable length of time, which again can affect the Spanish police´s ability to take action.
  • UK police forces cannot investigate crimes committed overseas and it cannot be guaranteed that the Spanish police will decide to take up the case via the UK police, and if they do, this is a very lengthy process. Please see Rape and Sexual Assault: Returning to the UK at https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/rape-and-sexual-assault-abroad-returning-to-the-uk for more information.

The medical examination – what to expect

  • If you report the incident the police in Spain, they may accompany you to the relevant hospital to undergo a medical examination. Each police station has a specific hospital that they work with (there is a list of public hospitals at the end of this document). At the hospital, a forensic doctor will be called out to examine you and to gather any evidence. This can involve a long wait at the hospital, especially if it is out of hours.
  • The Consulate is aware of cases where victims have gone to the hospital before going to the police station and have been refused treatment. This is because, according to police protocol, the forensic doctor cannot be called out until a police report has been filed.
  • It is therefore important to insist that a police officer accompanies you to the hospital or gives you something in writing to indicate that a police report has been made, or is in process, before you go to hospital.
  • If you want medical treatment but do not want to report the incident to the police, the hospital will probably agree to treat you as long as you make it clear that you simply want medical treatment, not a forensic examination. If there are visible signs of violence, bear in mind that the hospital may contact the police regardless of your wishes.
  • If a consular officer is available, we can accompany you to the hospital if you would like us to. We can also help with calling the local police station and hospital to confirm procedures and make them aware that you are on your way.
  • Some hospital staff may speak English, but the majority will only speak Spanish. We can help you to understand what is going on if we are able to accompany you.

Treatment

  • Hospital/medical staff can provide a prescription for Post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP) (in Spanish La PEP: profilaxis posexposición) which is a treatment that can prevent HIV infection. HIV PEP medication needs to be taken within 72 hours of the incident for it to be effective. If you are going back to the UK, the NHS may be able to commence or continue the 28-day treatment on your return.
  • If you intend to stay a while in Spain, the hospital will usually test you for HIV or sexually transmitted diseases. The results can take a while to come through and if you are staying in Spain, the hospital will arrange the appropriate follow up tests and treatment. If you are travelling straight back to the UK, we advise you to contact your GP straight away on your return.
  • Emergency contraception or “the morning after pill” (in Spanish la píldora postcoital) may be prescribed to you by the hospital. It can also be bought over the counter at a pharmacy without a prescription. In the latter case you will have to pay the full price for it.  Emergency contraception needs to be taken within 72 hours of the incident for it to be effective. (Two brands known in Spain are Norlevo® and Postinor®).  You may also be prescribed antibiotics.
  • If you are prescribed medication, you may not be able to collect this at the hospital as most do not have their own pharmacies. You will have to go to your nearest pharmacy (“farmacia” in Spanish) with your prescription (“receta” in Spanish). There are 24-hour pharmacies in Spain and there should always be an emergency pharmacy open during the night and weekends on a rota system. The address of the nearest emergency pharmacist should be displayed in the windows of the pharmacies in the area where you are.  Please note it is not possible to buy painkillers such as paracetamol in supermarkets in Spain.  You have to buy them from the pharmacy but you do not need a prescription.
  • If you have had medication administered overseas, you may wish to keep the label or make a note of the name of the medication and your medical reports, so that you can let your local health provider know when you return home.
  • If you are a visitor to Spain your hospital treatment will be covered by your European Health Insurance Card (EHIC). Contact the Overseas Healthcare Team on 0044 191 218 1999 if you don’t have your EHIC card with you. If you live in Spain, healthcare cover will be dependent on your social security cover (see healthcareinspain.eu for more information). If you attend hospital accompanied by the police and undergo a forensic examination, you will not be charged for this, regardless of whether or not you have healthcare cover.

Police investigations in the Alicante Consular District – what to expect

  • Once you have made a statement and undergone a medical examination, this information will be sent by the police to the investigating court on duty (Juzgado de Instrucción). You will then probably be asked to go to the court to reconfirm or ratify your statement before a Judge and Prosecutor. If you are leaving Spain in the next few days you may be asked to go to court immediately (or the next morning) after making your report to the police.  Whilst at the court, you can enquire whether it is possible to make a recording of your statement (in Spanish, prueba preconstituida), which may be used in any future court hearings, in case you do not wish to return to Spain to appear in person at the court.  If you intend to stay in Spain, you may be asked to reconfirm your report at a later date. You will be provided with an interpreter and given information on your rights according to the Victims of Crime Statute Law 4/2015. You will not be expected to meet, coincide or speak to the suspected assailant at the court or at the police station.
  • If you wish a member of consular staff to accompany you to the court we will do so although it is unlikely that we would be allowed to be present when you go before the investigating judge to ratify your statement. If you have requested a legal aid lawyer or have a private lawyer with you, this person would be allowed to accompany you at all times.
  • If the police make an arrest the suspect has to be taken before the court within 72 hours of being arrested. At this stage the Judge and the Prosecutor will decide whether to commit the assailant to prison pending further investigation, release the assailant provisionally with or without bail pending further investigation, or release the assailant without charges.
  • During the investigation you may be asked by the court to return to Spain to attend an ID parade, provide a further statement or to view photographs of suspects.

Court procedures – what to expect

  • The investigation stage is led by the investigating court, the “Juzgado de Instrucción”. The police pass any information to the investigating court and any updates have to be requested to the investigating court not to the police.
  • Under Law 4/2015 of 27 April, the Victims of Crime Statute Law (Estatuto de la víctima del delito), you are entitled to be kept informed by the court on the progress of your case. However it can sometimes be difficult to obtain information and victims often inform us that they are not kept up to date with the progress of their case.
  • Most courts have a victim support office. If you make yourself known to them before you leave Spain, they should be able to obtain updates on your behalf. Sometimes the British Consulate is also able to obtain updates for you, although we do not have access to case files. If you apply for a legal aid lawyer or appoint a private lawyer, this person will be able to obtain updates for you and provide you with more detailed information about the case. The Spanish police and court will be able to provide you with information on how to apply for free legal aid from the State, which is means tested and depends on your income.  The exception to this is minors (in Spain this is anyone under 18 years old) who are automatically entitled to legal aid. In all cases, the victim has to make their request for legal aid known to the police and the court as soon as possible.
  • You will also be informed of your right to apply for limited State financial assistance (which is means tested) which may be granted depending on your circumstances even if the assailant is not located or is insolvent. This aid is to help cover costs such as treatment for psychological and physical injuries.
  • If you decide to drop the charges, the Prosecutor may decide to continue with the case if it is in the public interest to do so. For example, if the suspect is being prosecuted for a series of crimes against others in addition to your case, it may be in the public interest for the person to be prosecuted. However without your evidence, it may be that the case is filed as there is not sufficient evidence to bring the suspect to trial.

The alleged assailant can press counter charges claiming false accusations

How can my case be taken to trial?

  • Once you have reported the incident to the police, it is up to the investigating court to decide whether or not the case is taken to trial. This will first depend on the police being able to identify and arrest the suspect and whether there is enough evidence to prosecute. If you have a lawyer, he or she will be able to advise you further as to what you can do if the court decides to file your case.

Trial procedures

  • Once the investigating court has completed its investigation and if it is deemed there is sufficient evidence against a suspect for the case to be taken to trial, the case will be passed to a different court where it will await trial. This will either be a “Juzgado de lo Penal” or if the sentence requested is longer than 9 years, it will be sent to the provincial court “Audiencia Provincial”.
  • It can take a few years for a trial date to come round (less if the suspect is being held in prison awaiting trial), so if you haven’t heard anything from the court for some time, this doesn’t necessarily mean the case has been filed.
  • If a case reaches trial, you will be asked to attend the trial and testify in person. If a recording of your statement in court was made, it may not be necessary to attend; otherwise, you will usually be expected to return to Spain. In very exceptional cases it is sometimes possible to testify via video conference from the UK. In any case, most lawyers advise that you should try to attend in person.
  • If you attend a trial in person, you can ask for the forms to apply for your travel costs to be reimbursed. Victims have told us that it can take many months for payment to come through and that not all costs are covered as there is a cap on certain costs like accommodation.
  • The trial is normally held in front of a group of judges who have access to all the information beforehand. This may mean that you are not questioned on every aspect of your statement. The length of the trial depends on the complexity of the case but can be as little as a day or a few hours.
  • You will only have to be present when you give evidence. If you request it beforehand, most courts will be able to provide a screen for the assailant to sit behind whilst you give your evidence. The British Consulate can help you to make this request.
  • You will not receive notification of the verdict straight away; rather you will be notified in writing at a later date.

The offender may be ordered to pay you compensation or damages once he has been convicted and the sentence is irrevocable i.e. with no right of appeal. The amount will be published in the sentence. Compensation or an award for damages ordered by the Court is separate from your right to apply for State funded financial assistance to cover costs derived as a victim of a violent or sexual crime.  However, State funded financial assistance and amounts awarded as compensation or damages are offset between the Spanish authorities involved. Victims have often found that unless the offender willingly pays the compensation, the court can take a long time to enforce payment

Support organisations in the Alicante Consular District

  • It is your choice to let people know. If you are ready to talk about it the following organisations may be able to help you. Not all of these organisations have English speaking staff available at all times.
NATIONAL

THEMIS  (www.mujeresjuristasthemis.org)

Association which offers legal advice and representation (not counselling) to victims of rape and other forms of sexual assault. They also offer legal assistance to victims of domestic violence not just for the criminal proceedings but civil as well (custody disputes, provisional court orders, filing for divorce etc.), and victims of human trafficking.

Services offered:

·         Legal advice prior to reporting the offence

·         Accompaniment service to report the offence at the police station

·         Free legal representation throughout the proceedings (incl appeals)

Who can benefit from their services:

·         Female victims of all ages

·         Male victims under the age of eighteen

They have lobbying groups and they provide specific training to the lawyers who volunteer to provide the services listed above. They also have a national helpline (tel. 91 4094184 – Monday to Friday 10:00-12:30 and 15:00 -17:30) available to provide information and arrange appointments either at the association premises in Madrid or with a lawyer anywhere within Spain. They are also prepared to cover travel expenses for a lawyer to travel between provinces within mainland Spain. The lawyers’ list is not available on their website for data protection reasons.

Please note that they do not offer interpreting services.

Samaritans in Spain

They operate a 24 hour confidential telephone support line on free-phone 900 525 100  (“You talk, we listen”)
Email: pat@samaritansinspain.com

www.samartiansinspain.com

Drop in centre: Punta Marina Commercial Center, Punta Prima, Torrevieja, Costa Blanca, 03185. Monday to Saturday from 10am – 6pm

COMUNIDAD VALENCIANA

C.A.V.A.S Comunidad Valenciana (Centro de Atención a la Víctima de Abusos Sexuales)

https://cavascv.org/quienes-somos/
Tel: 96 394 30 69 Email info@cavascv.org

C/ Guillem de Castro, 100 – 46003 Valencia

Centros de la Mujer (support and advice centres for women)

·         Alicante: C/ García Andreu, 12 CP 03010 (24h)

·         Castellón: C/ Mayor, 2, 5º CP 12001 (24 h)

·         Valencia: C/ Guillem de Castro 100 CP 46003 (24 h)

·         Denia: C/ Hermanos Gavila Ferrer 1 CP 03700 (Monday to Friday from 8am to 10pm)

MURCIA

Recursos del Sector Mujer del Ayuntamiento de Murcia (town hall support for women)
http://www.murcia.es/serviciossociales/info_sectores.asp?sector=1

Tel. 968 35 86 00

serviciossociales@ayto-murcia.es

Plaza Beato Andrés Hibernón, 6, 30001 Murcia

ALBACETE

Freephone women’s helpline: 900 100 114

Cavas Castilla la Mancha
C/ Muelle, 7. Entresuelo. 02001. Albacete.
TEL: 96 752 24 52
Fax: 96 752 24 52
Email: cavasalbacete@hotmail.com

More organisations can be found on the following link:

https://www.mehanviolado.com/asociaciones-de-ayuda-a-victimas/

LIST OF LOCAL PUBLIC HOSPITALS:

ALICANTE PROVINCE:

·         Hospital General de Elche – C/ Camino de la Almazara 11, 03203 Elche  Tel: 96 661 69 00

·         Hospital Vinalopó “Doctor Mas Magro” – C/ Tonico Sansano Mora 14, 03293 Elche. Tel: 96   667 98 00

·         Hospital General de Alicante – C/ Pintor Baeza 12, 03010 Alicante. Tel: 96 593 30 00

·         Hospital Dénia – Partida Beniadlà s/n 03700 Dénia. Tel: 96 642 90 00

·         Hospital La Vila Joiosa “Marina Baixa” – Avda. Alcalde En Jaume Botella Mayor 7, 03570 Villajoyosa. Tel  96 685 98 00  NOTE: this is the closest hospital to Benidorm – 10 minute drive from Benidorm or two stops on the tram L1

·         Hospital San Juan de Alicante – Ctra. Alicante-Valencia, s/n 03550 Sant Joan d´Alacant.    Tel: 96 593 87 00

·         Hospital Torrevieja – Ctra. CV-95 Torrevieja-Sam Miguel de Salinas, Partida Ceñuela, 03186 Torrevieja.  Tel: 96 572 13 13

·         Hospital Vega Baja de Orihuela  – Ctra. Orihuela-Almoradí s/n, 03314 Orihuela.       Tel: 96 587 75 00

·         A full list of hospitals in Alicante province can be found here: http://publicaciones.san.gva.es/docs/org/Centroshospitalariospublicosvalencianosporprovincia.pdf

VALENCIA PROVINCE:

·         Hospital Universitario La Fe Departamento de València-La Fe Av. Campanar, 21 (Valencia-46009) 96 386 27 00

·         A full list of hospitals in Valencia province can be found here: http://publicaciones.san.gva.es/docs/org/Centroshospitalariospublicosvalencianosporprovincia.pdf

CASTELLON PROVINCE:

·         A full list of hospitals in Castellon province can be found here: http://publicaciones.san.gva.es/docs/org/Centroshospitalariospublicosvalencianosporprovincia.pdf

 REGION OF MURCIA:

·         A full list of hospitals in the Region of Murcia can be found here:

https://www.murciasalud.es/pagina.php?id=392715&idsec=6

ALBACETE PROVINCE:

·         A full list of hospitals in the Albacete province can be found here:

http://sescam.castillalamancha.es/ciudadanos/buscador-de-centros

When you return home to the UK

·         You may want to let your GP or a Sexual Assault Referral Centre know what has happened to you so that you can talk about the experience and seek further support and advice.

·         If you believe you may be at risk of having contracted a sexually-transmitted infection (STI), you should ask your local health provider to test you, even if you have been tested in the country that the assault took place in.

·         Sexual Assault Referral Centres (SARC) offer medical, practical and emotional support.  They have specially trained doctors, nurses and support works to care for you. Find your nearest SARC online at www.rapecrisis.org.uk .

·         It is your choice to let people know. If you are ready to talk about it, the following organisations may be able to help you.

Support organisations and useful contacts in the UK

 

Rape Crisis England and Wales

free phone: 0808 802 9999

www.rapecrisis.org.uk

rcewinfo@rapecrisis.org.uk

 

Rape Crisis Scotland

free phone: 0141331 4180

www.rapecrisisscotland.org.uk

support@rapecrisisscotland.org.uk

 

Rape Crisis England & Wales and Rape Crisis Scotland are the national umbrella

organisations for rape crisis centres in

Great Britain.

Local rape crisis centres provide crisis and long-term specialised counselling, support and independent advocacy for all women and girls of all ages who have experienced any form of sexual violence; centres are community-based, and independent of government and the criminal justice system.

 

Nexus Northern Ireland

Belfast 028 9032 6803

Londonderry 028 7126 0566

Enniskillen 028 6632 0046

http://www.nexusni.org

info@nexusni.org

 

Nexus Northern Ireland offer counselling and support to survivors of sexual abuse, victims of sexual violence including those who have experienced rape and sexual assault.

Counselling is available for anyone aged

16+ in all regions of Northern Ireland. They offer counselling in 25 centres across Northern Ireland.

 The Survivors Trust

0808 801 0818

http://thesurvivorstrust.org/

info@thesurvivorstrust.org

 

 

The Survivors Trust is a UK-wide national umbrella agency for 130 specialist organisations for support for the impact of rape, sexual violence and childhood sexual abuse throughout the UK and Ireland.
Victim Support

0808 168 911

https://www.victimsupport.org.uk/

Victim Support is an independent charity dedicated to supporting victims of crime and traumatic incidents in England and Wales. Our purpose is to provide specialist help to support people to cope and recover to the point where they feel they are back on track with their lives.
Survivors UK

www.survivorsuk.org

Alternatively, you can WhatsApp them on 074 91816064 or contact their office on 0203 5983898.

 

Survivors UK support and provide resources for men who have experienced

any form of sexual violence. Their national webchat service for men and their families, partners and friends is open seven days a week and can be accessed through their website.

 Glasgow  & Clyde Rape Crisis (GCRC)

Helpline & free phone is 08088 00 00 14 https://www.glasgowclyderapecrisis.org.uk/

info@rapecrisiscentre-glasgow.co.uk

 

 

 

 

 

 

GCRC provide live on-line support for British nationals who are victims of sexual violence globally.

GCRC support survivors by phone, online contact form, SMS, Skype/Facetime or e-mail, to give survivors the chance to have face to face support in their first language and from an organisation that specialises in the support they need.

Jan 2019

Disclaimer

This information is provided as a general guide and is based upon information provided to the British Embassy by the relevant local authorities and may be subject to change at any time with little or no notice. Accordingly the FCO and the British Embassy will not be liable for any inaccuracies in this information. British nationals wishing to obtain any further information must contact the relevant local authority.

 

 

 

 

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