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Supporting Sexual Abuse & Sexual Violence Awareness Week

Monday, February 6th, 2017

We are supporting Sexual Abuse & Sexual Violence Awareness Week, 6-12th February 2017, and the key campaign message that ‘it’s not ok’.

The awareness week was established last year to give an opportunity for the general public, statutory and third sector organisations to participate in a discussion about sexual abuse and sexual violence. During the week people raise awareness about sexual abuse and sexual violence and how to prevent it in the UK.

Police and Crime Commissioner for South Wales, Alun Michael, said

“The Chief Constable and I are committed to tackling sexual abuse and sexual violence in south Wales, and we welcome any opportunity for a public discussion.”

This week we will support this national campaign by posting and sharing messages online using the #itsnotok hashtag, and raising awareness about key issues such as consent, recognising the signs of abuse, the impact of victim blaming, and highlight the support services available to victims.

The Commissioner continues:

“Our approach puts the victim at the centre of everything we do. We work together with partners to help prevent sexual violence and abuse, and to achieve earlier identification and intervention so that prompt, positive action can be taken to safeguard victims and ensure that they receive the very best care and support.”

Our programme of vulnerability training, and the identification and referral programmes established with local GPs and within higher education institutes, are helping to ensure that abuse is recognised earlier and victims safeguarded and supported sooner.

Assistant Chief Constable Jon Drake, Head of Specialist Crime, says

“Victims of sexual abuse and violence are never to blame – the abuser is the only one responsible for what they have done, and we will rigorously pursue the perpetrator if that is what the victim wants, now or in the future.

“We understand that often victims of rape and sexual assault can feel that they have limited choices and believe that telling someone what has happened to them will result in events quickly becoming out of their control.

“It’s important that victims know that this need not be the case; and that they can receive immediate support and guidance irrespective of whether the case is reported to the police”

Anyone who has been a victim of sexual abuse and violence, whether it is taking place now or in the past, can speak anonymously to a specialist advisor by calling the Live Fear Free helpline: 0808 8010 800 or self-refer to a Sexual Assault Referral Centre (SARC).

The essence of the SARC service is that they are completely client focussed and designed to ensure that victims receive the right support and information to enable them to make their own, informed choices about what happens next.  There are Sexual Assault Referral Centres (SARCs) locally in Merthyr Tydfil, Swansea and Cardiff. You can find out more at New Pathways and Cardiff & Vale Health Board.