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Commissioner launches ‘Be Consent Aware’ campaign

Cumbria’s Police and Crime Commissioner, Peter McCall, has launched a campaign to raise awareness on what constitutes as consent.

The campaign highlights the need for sexual consent, dispels the myths around what consent means and highlights the services available to those who have experienced sexual assault.

The campaign is supported by the Commissioner’s successful bid to the Government’s Safer Streets Fund.   Some of the key messages highlighted in the campaign are that consent cannot be bought, someone who is intoxicated cannot give consent, a relationship does not provide automatic consent, and that saying ‘yes’ once doesn’t mean ‘yes’ always.

Covering routes across the North West of England and South West of Scotland, these vital messages will be displayed on public buses to raise awareness. Train stations and bus stands across the county will also highlight these messages. Radio adverts have been playing across multiple radio stations in Cumbria, posters will be visible in multiple establishments and public banners will all highlight the key messages of the campaign.

Cumbria’s Police and Crime Commissioner, Peter McCall, said: “The ‘Be Consent Aware’ campaign is really important as it promotes asking for consent and highlights that just because someone doesn’t say ‘no’, that doesn’t mean that it’s a ‘yes’.

“It’s essential that we all understand the laws around consent as it is today.  I would encourage everyone to take a few minutes to think about consent and what it means.  You can find some helpful information on my website to read up on some of the myths and facts around consent.

“I would urge anyone who has been a victim of sexual assault or rape, recent or historical, to report it to the Police on 101 or 999 in an emergency.

“However; I know that this is not an option for some, which is why I commission services to help support victims of rape and sexual assault that don’t want to report directly to the Police.

“These services include: The Bridgeway; Victim Support; Safety Net; and The Birchall Trust – information on all of these services can be found on the ‘Be Consent Aware’ page on my website.

“We all want to see Cumbria become an even safer place to live, work and visit and by knowing our facts around consent, we can all make our streets a bit safer.”

Temporary Detective Chief Inspector Vicki Coombes, Cumbria Constabulary, said: “Rape and serious sexual offences are life changing. They can devastate individuals, their families, and the wider community.

“The law is very clear, sex without consent is rape. There are no grey areas and there are no excuses.

“It is your responsibility to ensure you have true consent before engaging in any sexual activity, otherwise you are committing a serious sexual offence and therefore hold yourself up to be arrested, convicted in a court of law and potentially placed on the Sex Offenders Register.

“I would urge people to ensure that they have full consent of anyone they are intimate with.

“I would also encourage anyone who has been a victim of any sexual offence to report this so we can investigate and provide appropriate support, in conjunction with our trusted partner agencies.”

More information can be found on Be Consent Aware – Cumbria Police and Crime Commissioner (cumbria-pcc.gov.uk)

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