Sexual Assault

Sexual Assault Unit

The Sexual Assault Unit investigates all adult sexual assaults, including but not limited to Rapes, Sexual Assaults, Peeping Toms Series, and some other sex related cases. (Special Victims Division investigates cases involving victims and suspects under the age of 16.) The mission of the unit is to investigate, identify, apprehend and assist in the prosecution of all suspects. The Sexual Assault Unit takes a proactive approach to the investigation of all cases, utilizing problem solving methods and models in an effort to educate the public to help in the prevention of these crimes.

Some Key Definitions of Terms

Forcible Rape
Definition:  The carnal knowledge of a person, forcibly and/or against that person's will or not forcibly or against the person's will in instances where the victim is incapable of giving consent because of his/her temporary or permanent mental or physical incapacity.

Sex Offense
Oral or anal sexual intercourse with another person, forcibly and/or against that person's will or not forcibly or against the person's will in instances where the victim is incapable of giving consent because of his/her youth or because of his/her temporary or permanent mental or physical incapacity.

Sexual Assault With An Object
To use an object or instrument to unlawfully penetrate, however slightly, the genital or anal opening of the body of another person, forcibly and/or against the person's will or not forcibly or against the person's will in instances where the victim is incapable of giving consent because of his/her youth or because of his/her temporary or permanent mental or physical incapacity.
Sexual Battery
The touching of the private body parts of another person for the purpose of sexual gratification, forcibly and/or against that person's will or not forcibly or against the person's will in instances where the victim is incapable of giving consent because of his/her youth or because of his/her temporary or permanent mental or physical incapacity.

Risk Reduction Tips

Protect yourself at home
  1. Keep entrances well lit.  If normal lighting is not functioning in an entryway, approach with extreme caution.  It is not uncommon for a criminal to remove, unscrew or break bulbs in entryways.

  2. Check the identification of any sales or service persons before letting them in.  Ask for a photo ID.  If you have any doubts, phone the company for verification.

  3. Equip your home with peepholes, dead bolts and chain locks.  If you have a child, add a second peephole at their eye level.

  4. Never give the impression that you are home alone if strangers telephone or come to your door.  Advise your children to do the same.

  5. Beware of potential hiding places and avoid them.

  6. Keep outside bushes and shrubbery trimmed.  Overgrown bushes and trees often provide excellent hiding places for criminals.

  7. Plant defensive shrubbery around your home, especially beneath windows.  Bushes that feature thorns or spiked leaves are not good hiding places for criminals.

  8. If you come home and find a door or window open or signs of forced entry, do not go in.  Go to the nearest phone and call the police.

Protect yourself in your automobile
  1. Keep your car in good working order and the gas tank at least half full.  Make a practice of filling up your vehicle during daylight hours.  Never let it get so low that you are forced to stop for fuel, particularly at night in an area with which you are unfamiliar.

  2. Always have your keys out and ready before leaving a building to approach your car.  Fumbling through your purse for keys after you've reached your car provides criminals with an opportunity to sneak up on you.

  3. Look in and around your car before entering.  If you are concerned for any reason, simply walk past your car and call the police.

  4. Lock your car door immediately after entering the vehicle.  Make this your first action - even before putting the key into the ignition.

  5. When stopped in traffic, keep your doors locked as usual and leave enough distance between the vehicle in front of you to drive away should a criminal attempt to walk alongside your vehicle and gain entry or attack you.

  6. Park in well lit areas and lock the doors even if you'll be gone a short time.  Check your surroundings before getting out of your car.  If something or someone strikes you as being out of place or threatening, drive away.

  7. If you are accosted in a parking lot, consider rolling underneath a nearby auto.  It is difficult to force anyone out from under a car.

  8. If an attacker does manage to get into your car while you are in it, do everything in your power to exit the automobile.  If you are still behind the wheel, steer your vehicle into a barricade, a pole, a wall -- any object that will create a minor accident.  Take advantage while your attacker's attention has been diverted and exit the automobile.  Run, yell, scream.  Do anything to attract attention.

Protect yourself while walking and jogging
  1. Always be alert to your surroundings and the people around you.  Walk confidently and at a steady pace.

  2. When on the street, walk facing oncoming traffic.  A person walking with traffic can be followed, forced into a car and abducted more easily than a person walking against traffic.

  3. Walk close to the curb or on the sidewalk.  Avoid doorways, bushes and alleys.

  4. Don't walk alone at night and always avoid areas where there are few people.

  5. Be careful when people stop you for directions.  Always reply from a distance and never go too close to the car.  Stay far enough away from the car that you can turn and run easily.  An alternative is to simply state, "I don't know" and keep walking.

  6. If you feel you are being followed, walk to a well populated area.

  7. If you are in trouble, attract help any way you can.  Scream, blow a whistle or yell for help.  Call 911 on a cell phone. 

  8. Trust your instincts.  If a particular place, person or group makes you feel uneasy, go a different direction, do not approach.

Protect yourself from date rape drugs
  1. The most commonly utilized date rape drug is alcohol.  If you have had too much to drink call a friend or a taxi.  Never take a ride from a stranger.

  2. Never leave a drink unattended. NEVER.

  3. Do not accept a drink from anyone you would not "trust with your life."  Remember, any stranger or casual acquaintance could be a danger, even those people who are mixing or pouring drinks.

  4. If you are feeling sick or dizzy while out socially, go to someone you KNOW and TRUST.  If there is no person you can talk to about your condition, call someone on the phone. Never leave alone. NEVER. The intent of date rape drugs is to get you isolated and then to assault you.

  5. If you think you have been drugged and cannot tell or call someone, call 911.  A blood sample can be collected and appropriate tests run.

  6. Remember, alcohol greatly increases the effects of these drugs.  The mixture could  also be lethal.

What If You're Confronted?

What to do if you are confronted...
There is no single strategy that always works, so remember these tips:
  1. Keep your head and stay as calm as possible. Think rationally and evaluate your resources and options.

  2. It may be safer to submit than to resist.  You will have to make this decision based on the circumstances.  Be especially careful if the attacker has a weapon.

  3. Keep assessing the situation as it is happening.  If one strategy does not work, try another.  Possible options in addition to non-resistance are negotiating, stalling for time, distracting the assailant and fleeing to a safe place, verbal assertiveness, screaming to attract attention and physical resistance.

  4. Stay alert and observant so that you can better describe the attacker and the assault to the police. 

What to do if you have been victimized
  • When you are able to get away, run to a place that is well lit and where there are other people.

  • Find a safe place away from the attacker and call 911, a friend or your local rape crisis center.

  • (Mecklenburg County - 704.375.9900 24-hour Crisis Line)

  • To assist in the investigation and prosecution of the rapist, preserve as much evidence as possible until the evidence collection kit has been performed at the local hospital. DO NOT take a shower or bathe, douche or urinate, brush your teeth or hair, change clothes, drink or eat, smoke or wash your hands before you go to the hospital. However, if you have already done any of these things, evidence can still be collected for up to 72 hours after the assault.

  • In most cases the expenses incurred as a result of the hospital examination will be covered under the North Carolina Crime Victims Compensation Act.

DO NOT disturb the area where the rape occurred.  Write down as many details as you can remember about the attack and the assailant.
  • If you think you were drugged, tell the person you are reporting to so they can perform the proper tests.

When you report the rape to the police, it is important to be up-front and honest about all the details.
  • Although it may be embarrassing to tell the police everything that happened, it is vital to give every detail you can. Remember, the rapist forced you to do what he wanted.

  • Be truthful in your re-telling of the events to the police.  Often the defense will try to attack your credibility.  If you are open and honest from the beginning, attacking your credibility will be more difficult.

Seek counseling.
  • Counseling is important to healing. If you try to pretend the rape didn't happen, it will eventually affect every aspect of your life. The sooner you start processing what happened and start rebuilding your life, the sooner you will be able to start healing.

REMEMBER:  Whatever you did to survive was the right thing to do.  You are NOT to blame.  The rapist committed a crime. Going on a date or giving someone your phone number is not a crime!

Sexual Assault Victim Resources

blockGreater Charlotte HOPE LINE (formerly Rape Case Hotline)
phone: 980-771-4673 (HOPE) - 24HOURS

blockVictim Assistance & Rape Crisis
phone: 704-332-9034

blockRape and Incest National Network
phone: 1-800-656-HOPE

blockNC Victim Assistance Network
phone: 704-312-1667 (for restraining and no contact orders)

blockNC Coalition Against Sexual Assault
phone: 1-919-956-9124

blockStatewide Automated Victim Assistance and Notification
phone: 1-877-NC-SAVAN  (1-877-627-2826)

blockPrevent Child Abuse North Carolina
phone: Crisis Line 1-800-4-A-CHILD (1-800-422-4453)
Office 1-800-354-KIDS (1-800-354-5437)