About Sexual Assault

We are Here to Help

If you or someone you know was raped or sexually assaulted you are not alone, there is help! Whether the assault happened today or years ago, you have options and support. Click on the buttons below for information and services to help you in your healing process.

What is Sexual Assault? For more information, check out Was I Raped?

  • Sexual assault or rape is unwanted sex or sexual contact
  • Sexual assault happens when someone used force, threats or intimidation to force you to have sex
  • Having sex with someone who cannot agree to it is also illegal, this includes children and people who are drunk or using drugs
  • Sexual assault can happen to anyone regardless of age, gender, race, sexual orientation, ability, etc.
  • Sexual assault is an act of violence, not sexual gratification
  • All sexual assault is a crime

What Should I Do?

If you have been raped or sexually assaulted...

  1. Find a safe location away from the perpetrator. If you believe you are still in danger, call 911.
    Once you're out of danger, ask someone you trust to be with you for support.

    • If you are under 18, tell a trusted adult. (But remember, not every adult is able to help. You may need to tell more than one person before you find someone who can help.) It's important to know that the person you tell may be required by state law to alert authorities.
    • If you do not have a trusted adult in your life or want to talk confidentially, you can call the Child Helphotline at 1-800-4-A-CHILD.
    • You can also call Child Protective Services at 1-855-4LA-KIDS (1-855-452-5437) or 911.
  2. Know that what happened was not your fault--whatever you did to survive was the right thing to do.
  3. Consider reporting the attack to police. If you would like to report, call 911 or come to the New Orleans Family Justice Center.
    While many survivors chose to report the assault to police, only you can decide if it is the right choice for you.

    • If you have questions about reporting, call the NOLA Family Justice Center at 504-592-4005 or call the Greater New Orleans Sexual Assault Hotline 24/7 at 1-855-435-STAR (7827)
    • A report to police can be made at the New Orleans Family Justice Center, and you have the right to have a support person or advocate with you during the interview.
    • To learn more about reporting to the police, click here.
  4. Go to the hospital as soon as possible for a forensic exam (sometimes called a "rape kit").
    • If you are an adult in the Greater New Orleans Area go to:
      • University Medical Center, New Orleans
        Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner (SANE) Unit
        Enter at Emergency Department, Second Floor
        2001 Tulane Avenue, New Orleans, LA 70112
        Main Number: (504) 702-3000
        Emergency Department: (504) 702-2243
        Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner unit: (504) 702-4542
        Website: www.umcno.org
      • Let the front desk know you were sexually assaulted. They will bring you to a private room called the SAFE center where you will be treated by a friendly nurse who is specially trained in sexual assault called a Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner (SANE). This is the only hospital in our area with SANE nurses, so try to go here if at all possible.
      • If possible, don't bathe, use the restroom or brush your teeth in order to preserve any evidence that may be on your body. Also bring the clothes you were wearing during the assault.
      • Services at the SAFE center include medical care, evidence collection, and prevention for STI’s, HIV and pregnancy if needed. You can say “no” to any part of the exam if you are uncomfortable at any point.
      • To learn more about the forensic exam and SAFE Center, click here.
    • For children who have been sexually abused, go to:
      • Children’s Hospital (for youth under 18 years of age)
        200 Henry Clay Avenue, New Orleans, LA 70118
        Main Number: (504) 899-9511
        Emergency Department: (504) 896-9474
        Website: www.chnola.org

        • Go to the emergency department for an acute forensic exam (if abuse may have happened in the past 3 days)
      • Children’s Advocacy Center & Audrey Hepburn CARE Center
        1101 Calhoun St. New Orleans, LA 70118
        Phone: (504) 896-9237
        Website: http://www.chnola.org/care & http://nocac.net/

        • Medical forensic exams for children under 18 years of age when abuse is suspected. Child-friendly forensic interviewing and connections to resources for children and their families including counseling and help navigating systems.
  5. Seek medical attention (even if you don't want to report the attack to police).
    Even if you don't want evidence collection, the SAFE center at University Hospital or another hospital can still help you with with other medical concerns following a sexual assault:

    • At the SAFE center and other hospitals, you can get help with preventing STIs, HIV and pregnancy due to the assault.
    • Even if you have no visible injuries it is still good to be checked by a doctor to make sure nothing is wrong.
  6. Take care of yourself
    Healing from rape takes time, but things will get better! It is important to remember that there is no one "normal" reaction to sexual assault. Every individual's response will be different depending on the situation.

    • Talk to someone who can help you heal. To find a free or low-cost counselor, go to Find a Counselor.
    • For more tips on healing and what to expect, go to Healing from SA.
  7. Know that it is never too late to call for help.
    Even if the attack happened years ago, it's never too late to get help. Many survivors do not realize they need help until months or years later.

    • Call the New Orleans Family Justice Center at (504) 592-4005 or (504) 866-9554 (after business hours) to speak with someone or schedule a counseling appointment today.

Counseling and Healing Services

No matter when you were assaulted, a counselor can help you to heal. The agencies below all provide free or low cost counseling, and specialize in helping people heal from trauma and sexual violence.

Greater New Orleans Area

New Orleans Family Justice Center
701 Loyola Ave., Suite 200
New Orleans, LA 70113
To schedule an appointment: (504) 592-4005  
24/7 Crisis Line: (504) 866-9554 

  • Free individual & group counseling for adults and children who have experienced trauma including sexual assault, childhood sexual abuse, domestic violence, dating violence and.or stalking. Help with restraining orders, civil legal matters & advocacy as well. Spanish speaking counselors available.

Metropolitan Center for Women & Children 
Serving Jefferson, St. Tammany, St. Bernard, Orleans & River Parishes
Crisis & appointment line: (504) 837-5400  

  • Free individual & group counseling for adults and children addressing domestic violence and sexual assault. Vietnamese speaking counselor available. 

Women With A Vision
 1001 S. Broad St., Suite 200
New Orleans, LA 70125
(504) 301-0428

  • Specialize in free healing services for marginalized groups including women of color, LGBTQ & sex workers.

Celebration Hope Center, Healing Hearts
1901-B Airline Dr. 
Metairie, LA 70001
(504) 833-4673

  • Free and Low Cost individual & group counseling for adults and children and treatment groups for adolescent sex offenders. 

Baton Rouge Area

Sexual Trauma Awareness and Response (STAR)
8281 Goodwood Blvd., STE I-2
Baton Rouge, LA 70806
Office: (225) 615-7093
24/7 Crisis Line: (225) 383-RAPE

  • Free individual and group counseling for children and adults who have experienced sexual violence. Help with advocacy, civil legal assistance and prevention programming as well.


RAINN National Sexual Assault Hotline
24/7 Crisis Line: 800-656-HOPE(4673)
Online Chat Hotline: ohl.rainn.org/online
Not from New Orleans? Find your local Counseling or Rape Crisis Center here: centers.rainn.org

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline
 1-800-273-TALK (8255)

Pandora's Project
Online message boards and chat rooms for SA survivors:

Children's Services

New Orleans Children's Advocacy Center
1101 Calhoun St.
New Orleans, LA 70118
(504) 894-5484

  • Counseling, medical, forensic interviewing and support for children who have been sexually abused and their families.

Childrens Bureau of New Orleans
2626 Canal St. Suite 201
New Orleans, La 70119
Tel: (504) 525-2366

  • Counseling, crisis intervention and mental health services for children

Family Service of Greater New Orleans
Main Office  (also have offices in Chalmette, Westbank and Metairie)
2515 Canal St, Suite 201 New Orleans, LA 70119
(504) 822.0800

  • Counseling, crisis intervention and mental health services for children and their families

Healing from Sexual Assault Takes Time

Keep in mind:

  • It is not your fault-- you are a victim of a crime
  • No one asks or deserves to be raped
  • Whatever you did to survive was the right thing to do
  • There is no right or wrong way to feel after being raped, you have the right to feel any and all feelings you have
  • People deal with trauma and heal in many different ways, find what works for you

For Frequently asked Questions about Recovery from Sexual Assault, click here.

Here are some tips to help you heal:

Physical Self-Care

We all function better when our bodies are in top condition. Therefore, those who take better care of themselves, have some key tools to better handle the aftermath of a stressful situation like sexual assault. We tend to underestimate the value of things like eating a healthy diet, getting regular exercise, and getting a good night's sleep.

  • Adequate Nutrition: To better concentrate on dealing with the emotional aspects of sexual assault recovery, ensure that you are receiving the nutrition you need. Learn more about eating a nutritious diet.
  • Exercise: The Center for Disease Control recommends at least 30 minutes of exercise 5 times a week. Even just a quick walk at lunchtime, can help combat feelings of sadness or depression and prevent chronic health problems.
  • Stay busy: Many survivors have full time jobs, go to school, volunteer and have families. Finding time to do activities that you enjoy is an important aspect of self-care. Get involved in a sport or hobby that you love! If you have a spouse or partner, make a date night and stick with it. Treat leisure activities as seriously as work or school appointments.
  • Sleep: Make sure your body is getting the rest it needs. Although every person is different, a reasonable guideline is that most people need between 7-10 hours of sleep per night.

Emotional Self-Care

Understanding the importance of your emotional well-being is the start of living a healthy lifestyle. You must be willing to feel and express emotions about what you've gone through in the past and what you will go through in the future. Whether it is with one other person, a group of people, or on your own, knowing, accepting, and saying how you feel are steps in the right direction.

  • Counseling: Seeing a therapist, one-on-one or as part of a support group, can help you and your loved ones process what has happened. To find a counselor, go to Counseling and Healing Services.
  • Journal or Diary: Some survivors find that recording their thoughts and feelings in a journal or diary helps them manage their emotions after an assault. Meditation or relaxation exercises help many survivors as well.
  • Surround yourself with positive people: It's important to make sure that the people in your life are supportive. Nurture relationships with people that make you feel good about yourself!
  • Look out for yourself: Be wary of friends or family who leave you feeling tired or depressed when you see them, never have time to listen to you, or dismiss or belittle your experience as a survivor. Focus on spending time with those you care about and who care about what is best for you.

Survivor Guide

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