StopRapeNow Partners Urge Anyone Affected By Rape To Seek Help
Police and partners working together across Warwickshire and West Mercia as www.stoprapenow.co.uk are urging anyone affected by rape or serious sexual assault to seek help from police or support services.
Emma Durmaz who manages The Glade Sexual Assault Referral Centre in Worcestershire and Telford said "The Glade SARC is open 24/7 to support anyone who has been raped or sexually assaulted whether the assault has just happened or happened some time ago maybe when you were a child. Please do not hesitate to contact us on 0808 178 2058 as we can offer immediate support and medical attention to check your health and well-being as well as longer term counselling and other services to help you come to terms with what has happened to you. Please do not keep it to yourself, we have helped many people and you are not on your own."
Detective Supt Steve Cullen, Head of Protecting Vulnerable People said "If you have been raped, we understand that you may need time to think what to do next. We recognise that rape and serious sexual offences remain under reported to the police for a range of reasons. We are committed to ensuring victims are given every opportunity to tell the police what may have happened."
"We want you to know that if you decide to report to the police we will take you seriously and our specially trained officers will strive to get the right outcome for you.
"If you report the incident to the police, a specially trained officer will take your initial report, arrange for a forensic medical examination where appropriate, take statements, keep you updated of any developments in the case, and support you by giving you information regarding the criminal justice system and other organisations or agencies who may be able to assist you.
"However, you may not be aware that you can still help the police and give yourself time to think by reporting anonymously to the Glade or other support service.
"This means you could assist the police by providing forensic evidence as soon as possible after an incident as well as information, anonymously. You will not be identified to the police.
"Any information you pass on helps the police to track crime patterns and build a profile of a perpetrator that could assist other similar investigations. Please remember though that the Police cannot prosecute anyone for your assault without your support, but they will have the evidence to do so if you later change your mind."
Emma Durmaz added "If you are unsure whether you want to report an incident anonymously, agencies such as the SARC can arrange an informal chat with the police without them knowing who you are. We will support you through this, but it is your decision.
"It can take some people a lifetime before they seek help and report a rape to the police or other agency. Please remember, it is never too late. This is normal. We and other agencies will be here to help you. "
Gail Naidoo From Axis (Shropshire & Telford) said "Sexual assault is an act that is carried out without the victim’s active consent. This means you did not agree to it. If you’ve been sexually assaulted remember it was not your fault. It doesn’t matter what you were wearing, where you were or whether you had been drinking or not. A sexual assault is always the fault of the perpetrator"
"There are local specialist organisations across the entire West Mercia area who can support those affected by sexual abuse/violence both emotionally by means of counselling and practically with the support of an Independent Sexual Violence Advisor. An ISVA can provide confidential advice and guidance on the processes involved in reporting an assault to the Police and support you to do so, if this is what you choose. An ISVA can also support you to access other services you might require"
"Sexual assault and rape can happen to anyone, regardless of gender, age or culture. The trauma associated with rape can have a long lasting and profound impact on the victim and their loved ones. Seeking support from one of the local specialist support services can help"
It is a myth that women are most likely to be raped by a stranger, outside down a dark alleyway. In reality more than 80% of women who are raped know their attacker; 53% of perpetrators of serious sexual assaults are current partners or ex-partners (source: www.mumsnet.com) and more than 1 in 5 women who are raped were raped by their partner or ex-partner. In fact, over two-thirds of rapes take place in the home of the victim or suspect.
This myth can mean that women who are raped in these circumstances don't identify their experience as rape, and therefore don't report it. Rape within a relationship including marriage is no less serious than rape by a stranger.
Emma Durmaz said "The circumstances can be very different for men. Often men seek help and support to come to terms with a rape or sexual assault that happened to them as a child. If you were raped as a child we understand that it can take many years before you are ready to tell someone what has happened. We do not mind how long it takes. This is normal and we will be here to help you. "
We all play a role in protecting children and young people who should be able to enjoy their childhood and grow up as carefree as possible.
If you have any concerns about a child please contact the police or support agency. Visit www.stoprapenow.co.uk for a list of agencies who can help you.
If you are a young person who has been raped or sexually assaulted, the first step is to talk to someone you trust and feel safe with, such as a parent, family member, friend, friends parent or teacher. You can also call the police. There are many local support agencies and national charities such as Childline on Tel 0800 1111 (free phone) www.childline.org.uk who will help too.
If you have been raped or sexually assaulted, it is never your fault. The www.stoprapenow.co.uk campaign aims to challenge the public’s understanding of consent. Please visit the website to check your understand. Perhaps your understanding is not as good as you think?
Please look out for the StopRapeNow posters, scratch cards, and stickers that will start appearing across the region to raise awareness of the campaign as well as information on Facebook and Twitter. Please visit StopRapeNow.co.uk for more information.
The Worcestershire website for sexual violence www.Worcestershiredomesticandsexualabuse.co.uk is also a useful source of information.
Issued on Monday 02 December 2013