Commissioner Supports ‘It’s Not OK’ Sexual Abuse and Sexual Violence Awareness Week 5-12th February
Cumbria’s Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner (PFCC) Peter McCall is supporting National Sexual Abuse and Sexual Violence Awareness campaign this week, that aims to generate discussion among the public, statutory bodies and third sector organisations about how sexual abuse and sexual violence is not ok.
During 1st April 2022 – 31st March 2023, 119 victims were supported to have a forensic-medical examination following rape or sexual assault and 63 people sought telephone advice through the Bridgeway Sexual Assault Support Services.
PFCC Peter McCall comments: “Sexual violence and abuse is not ok. We support raising the awareness through the #ITSNOTOK campaign as it has a catastrophic impact on people’s lives and also affects victims’ families.
“It’s essential that we raise awareness of support services for victims of sexual abuse and sexual violence and that the Bridgeway Sexual Assault Support Services can be accessed 24/7 for people that have been victims of rape, sexual assault and sexual abuse.
“Awareness weeks like this are vital in encouraging people to talk and provide a platform to increase the awareness of what support is available to our communities in Cumbria. It is also an opportunity to make it very clear to anyone who may be tempted to abuse others sexually either physically, verbally, through the use of social media or any other method, that it is unacceptable behaviour and those who engage in it will be subject to the full force of the law.
“By sharing this information with the public now, they will be aware of the support is available should they find themselves victim to such a crime.
“I would like to take this opportunity to encourage any victim of sexual abuse or violence to report it to police. Your report will be taken seriously and will be thoroughly investigated by police officers. However, it is important to note that support services are available to victims regardless of whether they decided to report the crime to police or not.
“If you are a victim of a sexual offence, please do not suffer in silence. Help and support is always available.”
Detective Chief Inspector Vicki Coombes is Cumbria Constabulary’s lead officer for rape and serious sexual offences. She said: “Rape and serious sexual offences are life-changing. They can devastate individuals, their families and the wider community.
“If you have been the victim of a rape or sexual assault, we would always encourage you to report it to police.
“Your report will be taken seriously and investigated by specialist officers should you wish. We have a team of Engagement Officers who will support you through the process.
“But it is really important that everyone knows that there are support services available should they need them, whether or not there is a criminal investigation.
“This week offers an important opportunity for agencies to reach out to ensure those who have been victim to any form of sexual violence or abuse are aware of the support services that are available to them here in Cumbria and how they can access them.”
The Bridgeway services are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week on 0808 118 6432
Or email email@example.com
Other useful contacts:
24hr Supportline Victim Support 0808 1689 111
24hr Live Online Chat facility at www.victimsupport.org.uk/help-and-support
Mankind Initiative 01823 334244 www.mankind.org.uk