Commissioner supports ‘It’s Not OK’ sexual abuse and sexual violence awareness campaign

Cumbria’s Police and Crime Commissioner Peter McCall is supporting National Sexual Abuse and Sexual Violence Awareness campaign this week, that aims to spread the vital message that sexual abuse and sexual violence is not OK.

 

In the last year, 113 people received an examination at Cumbria’s Sexual Assault Referral Centre (SARC), and a further 71 people received advice and support from a crisis worker.

 

Peter McCall comments: “I welcome the opportunity to raise awareness and support campaigns that highlights that sexual abuse or sexual violence is never OK.

 

“Starting conversations and promoting the ‘It’s Not OK’ message as wide as possible, helps to send out a clear message that in Cumbria, sexual abuse and sexual violence will not be tolerated.

 

“It’s essential that we raise awareness of support services for victims for 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.

 

“These services involve the forensic-medical service at the Sexual Assault Referral Centre (SARC) and support from the Independent Sexual Violence Advisors (ISVA) and therapeutic services.

 

“I would also like to take this opportunity to encourage any victim of sexual assault or sexual violence to report it to police. We understand it is difficult, but the police are here to help. Your report will be taken seriously and appropriately investigated and we will work hard to bring offenders to justice. However, if you want help without police involvement, please contact The Bridgeway on 0808 118 6432.”

 

Detective Chief Inspector Vicki Coombes is Cumbria Constabulary’s strategic lead for rape and serious sexual offences.

She said: “This week offers an important opportunity for agencies to reach out to communities 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.

“Rape and sexual abuse have a profound and lasting impact on victims. There is no place for these crimes in society. We need to work together to ensure that everyone gets this message.

“As a police force, we do everything we can to thoroughly investigate any report we receive and ensure survivors of sexual abuse are safeguarded and afforded appropriate support. We are committed to pursuing any identified offenders and to bring them to justice.

“We have specially trained officers who are experienced in investigating reports of sexual violence and abuse

“We recognise that these crimes can be extremely difficult to speak about, which is why we also provide a variety of options for people who want to report a crime to us.

“We work closely with support agencies across Cumbria. I would urge anyone who has been victim to a sexual offence to please tell us so we can provide tailored support and bring those responsible to justice.”

 

Donna Cardell, Manager of The Bridgeway, said: “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 effects the families of people who have suffered also.

 

“We will also assess and offer a forensic examination to anyone (over 16 years of age) who has suffered sexual violence and it is appropriate and within the forensic timescales to help gain any evidence, even if they are not ready to tell the police at that time.”

 

The Bridgeway services are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week on 0808 118 6432

Or email info@thebridgeway.org.uk

 

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


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