This week, organisations across the North West are coming together to raise awareness of sexual violence and the support services available to survivors.
The initiative, led by North West Police and Crime Commissioners, police authorities, and sexual assault and abuse services, will take place from 8-14 November 2021.
Each day throughout the week a county will be hosting their own dedicated event/activity to raise awareness within their communities. These range from art installations from university students to moments of reflection in the form of vigils, all of which aim to engage local communities and promote the support available to survivors of sexual violence.
In addition, iconic buildings such as the Blackpool Tower, Chester’s Clock Tower and Merseyside’s Radio City tower will all be lit up purple in solidarity for survivors of sexual violence.
A full timetable of events:
|Mon 8 November||9.30am – 10.30am||University of Cumbria, Fusehill Street, Carlisle, CA1 2HH||Private reflection and a safe space for prayer.|
|11am – 11.30am||University of Cumbria, Fusehill Street, Carlisle, CA1 2HH||A moment of reflection and vigil led by the University of Cumbria’s chaplaincy. This will be an interreligious event open to all.|
|11.30am – 4pm (TBC)||University of Cumbria, Fusehill Street, Carlisle, CA1 2HH||Stalled event and art unveiling with representatives from the local services and community groups offering the space to disclose, talk openly about experiences and learn about local support.|
|Tuesday 9 November||11am – 4pm||The Flag Market, Preston PR1 2AP||A Lancashire-wide event to raise awareness of what everyone can do to prevent sexual violence, inform survivors of the services and support available to them, and empower people by offering space to share their stories. Art unveiling from university students and survivors from across the county|
|5pm – 6pm||The Flag Market, Preston PR1 2AP||A moment of reflection and remembrance for survivors of sexual violence with spoken-word poetry.|
|Wednesday 10 November||TBC||TBC||Universities across Greater Manchester are holding individual campus events to raise awareness of services and where people can access support. The University of Manchester will be unveiling a photography exhibition on harmful behaviours and Manchester Metropolitan University is holding a vigil.|
|Thursday 11 November||11am – 4pm||Liverpool Guild of Students, 160 Mount Pleasant, Liverpool L3 5TR||A stalled event open to students and the public with representatives from support services available. There will be the opportunity for private disclosures on the day.|
|5pm – 6pm||St Johns Beacon (under the Radio City Tower), Liverpool L1 1RL||A moment of reflection and remembrance for survivors of sexual violence in the form of a vigil. Attendees are encouraged to wear purple and bring a torch/LED light with them.|
|Friday 12 November||11am – 12pm||Facebook Live via Cheshire Constabulary’s page||A live Q&A with experts from the support services and police.|
|12pm – 3pm||University of Chester, Exton Park Campus, CH1 4BJ||A stalled event featuring local support services across Cheshire.|
|8pm – 9pm||Chester Cross, CH1 1NP||A vigil and moment of reflection for survivors of sexual violence. Attendees are encouraged to wear purple and bring an LED light/torch.|
Rebecca Williams, project lead and Sexual Violence Communications and Engagement Manager said: “This week we are encouraging people across the North West to talk openly about sexual violence and their experiences, whether that be to a friend, family or one of the specialist organisations.
“Sexual violence can happen to anyone at anytime and anywhere. You are not alone!
“Previously finding a local specialist service may have been difficult or overwhelming due to the vast amount of information online. Working with survivors and local organisations, we have launched a new website https://sexualviolencesupport.co.uk/ that will help you find the service that is right for you.
“In addition, we have created ‘support packs’ which provide explanations of what sexual violence is, how you can seek help, how you can support others and a simplified guide on report to court.”
According to the World Health Organisation, one in three women endure physical or sexual violence and one in four adolescent girls ages 15-19 who have had a relationship have been subjected to either physical or sexual violence. But it is not just females who are victims!
Police Crime Commissioners, police forces, local authorities, and NHS England all fund sexual violence support services. These services may vary across localities but together they aim to offer the same level of care no matter where a survivor lives. From specialist forensic and medical sites called Sexual Assault Referral Centres (SARCs) to aftercare provisions like counselling, group therapy and Independent Sexual Violence Advisors (ISVAs), these services aim to work in unison to give every victim of sexual violence the support they need.
If you or someone you know is a victim of sexual violence you can contact the police direct on 101, or in an emergency call 999.
If you do not wish to contact the police, you can self-refer to a specialist organisation directly. To find your local organisation, visit our website https://sexualviolencesupport.co.uk/
To join in with the campaign or find out more information, visit https://sexualviolencesupport.co.uk/campaigns/nwsvweek/ or email email@example.com