Don’t stay silent about that summer rape attack police advise victims
Wiltshire Police have launched a Summer Rape Awareness Campaign aimed at encouraging victims of sexual assault, who too often keep the attack a secret, to report incidents to the police.
The week-long campaign is also seeks to reinforce personal safety messages and promote the role of support agencies throughout the county.
Detective Superintendent Sarah Bodell revealed that police figures indicate that there is often a spike in reports of sexual assaults during the summer months compared with a total of 52 reported in the first three winter months of this year.
“This could be due to a variety of reasons, for example the lighter evenings encouraging people to stay out drinking for longer, or the increasing number of young people socialising during the summer break,” she said.
“Whatever the reason, we want to provide people with the information to help prevent them from becoming a victim, encourage those who have been sexually abused to report it and give details of where to go for help and support.”
And she pointed out: “Victims may be worried about contacting the police to report sexual assault and we understand that it can be very difficult to talk about something like this.”
“However I would like to reassure victims that anyone who reports a sexual assault will be treated with dignity and respect, we take all reports very seriously and you will be dealt with in a sensitive, professional and non judgemental way.”
“It is very important that the victim, male or female, feels safe and able to trust us and we have dedicated Sexual Offences Liaison Officers (SOLOs) who will spend time with the victim, explaining the procedures, keep them updated on the investigation and ensure that they are supported throughout the process.”
“We work very closely with other agencies that can give specialist support such as counselling.”
Most victims already know the identity of their attacker. Stranger rapes are rare but it is always sensible to take personal safety measures when out and about, particularly if you are on your own, and to ensure that someone knows where you are and when you expect to return. Using a mobile phone helps to do this.
Superintendent Bodell added: “If at any time you feel concerned for your safety or the safety of others please dial 999. We would rather attend a call and find that it was a false alarm than not be contacted and someone suffers a sexual assault.”
“Our crime prevention officer will be providing advice on personal safety on day three of our campaign but in the meantime if you would like any further advice or you are at all worried please call 0845 408 7000 or visit our website www.wiltshire.police.uk and click on the Safety Advice logo.”
“A sexual assault can be reported at any point but we encourage victims to do so as soon as possible, this helps us to ensure that the proper support can be provided.”
“If someone has been sexually assaulted and doesn’t want to tell the police we urge them to tell a trusted friend or family member who can then report it on their behalf. Tell your GP or contact the Sexual Assault Referral Centre.”
The SARC helpline 0808 168 0024 is available 24 hours a day, all year round.