For many people recovering from sexual assault is an ongoing process and can take time. It is important that survivors are given the space and time to heal and remember that it is never too late to seek support.

Immediately following a sexual assault, it is important that a survivor gets to a place where they feel safe. This could be their own house, or the house of a friend or whanau member or other trusted person. After this has been achieved it is encouraged that survivors seek medical attention, for their own health and safety, even if they have no intention of going to the police.


Self-care is an important part of everyone’s lives but it is especially important for survivors. There are a number of common strategies that individuals use when coping with extraordinary stress in their lives. It is important to remember that individuals have their own way of, and pace for, processing traumatic events and each individual must listen to and honour their own pace and way. Here are some suggestions of positive coping strategies for dealing with stress and trauma.

Physical Self-Care

  • Eat regular and nutritional meals
  • Take time to exercise
  • Get medical care when needed
  • Take time off when sick
  • Dance, swim, walk, run, play sports or do some other physical activity they you enjoy

Psychological Self-Care

  • Take time for self-reflection. For example, write in a journal
  • Say no to extra responsibilities sometimes
  • Talk to a professional
  • Join a therapy support group

Emotional Self-Care

  • Spend time with people whose company you enjoy
  • Stay in contact with important people in your life
  • Identify comforting activities, objects, people, relationships and places and seek them out

Spiritual Self-Care

  • Spend time with nature
  • Make time for reflection
  • Meditate
  • Pray
  • Sing
  • Contribute to causes in which you believe

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