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PCC and force back national campaign against sexual abuse - #ItsNotOk

06 Feb 2017 09:00 AM

AW 2017 logo with week [View Full Size]
#ItsNotok is the clear message to offenders from Northumbria Police and Police and Crime Commissioner Dame Vera Baird QC, as they give their backing to Sexual Abuse and Sexual Violence Awareness Week, which is taking place across the UK from 6th -12th, February 2017.
The aim of the week is to raise awareness of this type of abuse, share ways to prevent it and highlight the help and support available to those who have suffered at the hands of an abuser.
Approximately 85,000 women and 12,000 men are raped in England and Wales alone every year and nearly half a million adults are sexually assaulted. 
Only around 15% of people who experience sexual violence choose to report this crime to the police and about 90% of those who are raped know the perpetrator prior to the offence. 
Backing the campaign, Dame Vera says she wants to encourage all victims of sexual abuse to seek help either through the police or Victims First Northumbria, which can help victims access the help they need to cope and recover from their ordeal. 
Dame Vera, who is also Chair of the Association of Police and Crime Commissioners, said: "Any initiative that puts sexual abuse on the agenda, raises awareness, and importantly, highlights the help that's available is welcomed and encouraged by me.
"It's so important that these victims have the confidence to come forward confident that Northumbria Police will be supportive to them. I want to reassure victims that they will be treated with sensitivity and understanding and our officers will do all they can to catch those responsible for such horrendous crimes. 
"I want victims to remember - they are not alone -  there is support ready and waiting to help them overcome the ordeal they have been subjected to. Practical and emotional support is also available through Victims First Northumbria even if you haven’t reported the crime to police.
"My message to perpetrators is loud and clear too - this appalling behaviour is absolutely not acceptable and will not be tolerated by Northumbria Police."
Throughout the week, PCC Vera Baird QC will be joined  by officers from Northumbria Police showing their support on Twitter.
Detective Chief Inspector, Shelley Hudson, from Northumbria Police's Safeguarding Team, said: "We are increasingly seeing more and more people with the confidence to come forward and report rape and sexual assaults, which is pleasing as it means more people are receiving support and seek justice.
"We will fully support any victims of sexual violence -  our specially trained officers and specialist partner agencies will be there with them every step of the way and all reports will be taken extremely seriously.
"Sexual abuse is absolutely unacceptable and those responsible need to be prosecuted - we can't let them get away with committing these abhorrent crimes and will do everything we can to help victims seek the justice they deserve."
For information about the week visit http://sexualabuseandsexualviolenceawarenessweek.org/
For practical end emotional support call Victims First Northumbria on 0800 011 3116 or visit http://www.victimsfirstnorthumbria.org.uk/
For further information and advice visit www.northumbria.police.uk. Always call 999 in an emergency.