Monday, 3rd February 2020
During a national week of awareness, Leicestershire Police is highlighting the many support services available for victims of sexual abuse and violence across Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland (LLR).
Throughout this week (3 – 9 February), organisations across LLR want to encourage people who have suffered from recent or historic abuse to come forward and access help, support and resources. All of the services are available, regardless of whether or not they wish to report a crime to the police.
The focus for this year’s national sexual abuse and violence awareness week is ‘It’s Not OK’.
Leicestershire Police work in partnership with several organisations who cover LLR including Victim First who work with victims and witnesses of crime and support both adults and young people.
Trade, who are a health charity, support the LGBT+ community with their sexual and overall health needs and concerns.
First Step work with male abuse survivors aged 13 and above and Quetzal offer counselling and a helpline to women who have suffered sexual abuse as a child.
Jasmine House, Leicester Rape Crisis offer specialist counselling and support for females aged 13 and above that have suffered sexual violence or assault.
United against Violence and Abuse (UAVA) provide a dedicated helpline along with specialist support including access to an independent sexual violence advisor (ISVA) for males and females of any age, including children.
Help is available is the campaign’s key message – it doesn’t matter who you are, where you live, or what your needs are. If you choose to disclose something that has happened to you, you will be listened to, treated as an individual and will receive specific tailored support.
The campaign aims to reach out to those people who find it harder to report. This often includes men, those from LGBT communities and black and Asian minority groups.
Support is also available for the friends and relatives of victims as their needs can get overlooked. It’s important for them to know there is help for them to deal with their experiences too.
Manager of the Sexual Assault Referral Centre (SARC), Millie Gant, said: “The SARC is a safe place where you can discuss your options with a crisis worker regardless of your gender or gender identity. We know that there are barriers which impact on people choosing to report but awareness and knowledge that they will be listened to and helped is key to what we are hoping to achieve.
“Sexual abuse and sexual violence are both sensitive topics and we hope that our involvement in the awareness week will encourage conversations about these difficult subjects.
“We hope that anyone who has been affected by sexual abuse or sexual violence understands how they can report these issues and know they are not alone.”
Lord Willy Bach, Leicestershire Police and Crime Commissioner, said: “Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland provide a vast amount of specialist services which provide emotional and practical help for victims and survivors whether they have reported their experiences to police or not.”