Rape awareness launch
PCC Sue Mountstevens supports a new and unique website to help victims of rape and sexual assault which has launched across Avon and Somerset today.
www.rapeaware.org is a dedicated site to educate people about the crime and encourage more victims to come forward and report what has happened to them.
Police and Crime Commissioner Sue Mountstevens is funding Facebook and radio advertising through the Christmas and New Year period to raise awareness of the new website.
It’s run by Avon and Somerset Police and takes the user through all their options; from the types of rape and sexual assault that can be committed, who to contact, to the type of care they will receive, how evidence will be collected, making a report, the investigation and their ability to control the process.
Ms Mountstevens said: “We know that rape and serious sexual assault remains seriously under-reported, with only eight per cent of victims thought to have reported it to the police. This means that far too many people are suffering in silence and the more we can do to make people aware of what help is out there and the range of voluntary services they can speak to the better.
“Rapeaware.org will play a key role in helping victims get the support they need and encourage more victims to come forward to report sexually violent behaviour.”
Pages on the site also give you the true picture of the crime and challenge all the myths and stereotypes that people have.
Chief Superintendent Sarah Crew, who leads on rape and sexual assault in Avon and Somerset Police, said: “Information is power: A big part of protecting yourself from becoming a victim or becoming a perpetrator, comes through awareness of what rape and sexual assault is, and what consent is, ‘Only Yes means Yes’.
“Rape is a life changing crime. Whilst we are committed to providing excellent care, support and advocacy services for victims, we are equally and relentlessly committed to bringing its perpetrators to justice, it is clearly far better that such crimes never happen.
“By taking some common sense precautions, every one can better protect themselves. This website gives its users the information they need to keep safe.”
The site which includes interactive elements also offers advice and links to other support organisations, like The Bridge and Safe-link which provides help to victims who do not want to go to the police.
One of the Commissioner’s key priorities is violence and women and girls and Sue Mountstevens has already pledged to support the Independent Sexual Violence Advisor (ISVAs) service across Avon and Somerset, providing help to all victims of rape and sexual assault.
Carol Metters (MBE) Director of Safe-Link, one of the services who provide ISVAs said: “We think this new website will be a lifeline for victims, we know that many victims of rape and sexual assault do not report the crime or seek help because they do not know what services are available to them or think that they won’t be believed.
“The website makes it very clear that both the Police and support services like Safe Link are there for them and will offer safe non-judgmental advice and support”
You can visit the site at www.rapeaware.org or if you have been a victim of rape and sexual assault, past or present, you can report it to us by calling 999 or 101.
We are committed to bringing offenders of this crime to justice and will support victims every step of the way.
Posted on Thursday 20th December 2012