5 February 2016 PCC supports Sexual Abuse & Sexual Violence Awareness Week Suffolk’s PCC is supporting the inaugural Sexual Abuse & Sexual Violence Awareness Week that takes place across the UK from 1– 7 February 2016 and is aimed at raising awareness of sexual abuse and sexual violence and how to prevent it. This year the topic of conversation is ‘it’s not okay’. Sexual violence can have devastating and long-lasting effects on the victim. It is not about love or passion but about aggression and control. There are many myths surrounding this type of crime which lead many victims to believe it was their fault, they deserved it or they had no choice. Tim Passmore, Suffolk Police and Crime Commissioner said “I fully support this national awareness campaign. It is crucially important that victims of sexual abuse and violence know there is always someone here to help. “I have visited the SARC several times to see first-hand the work being carried out by Lynn Ambrose and her dedicated team to raise awareness of sexual abuse and violence and the services available to victims in Suffolk. I was extremely impressed by the scope of the services they provide and it is important that victims know that such help is available. “Serious sexual offences are under-reported in Suffolk and I am determined that we do all we can to improve this situation. We need to work together to ensure that support is available so that victims feel confident to speak out. I am steadfast in my commitment to work with the Chief Constable and partners across the county to prevent and respond to domestic and sexual abuse. We all need to echo the hashtag of the campaign, “it’s not OK”. Detective Superintendent David Cutler said, “I welcome this new campaign to raise awareness. Many crimes involving sexual abuse and violence go un-reported for fear of the consequences or of not being believed. We encourage anybody to come forward and report abuse. Speaking out is the first step and services are available at the Sexual Assault Referral Centre (SARC) which allows the information to be taken in a confidential, comfortable setting. They offer the opportunity for medical examinations without police involvement following recent rape or sexual assault and can help you whenever you feel able to talk about your experience.” “I would like to reassure victims that Suffolk Police take every report of rape and sexual violence seriously, regardless of circumstances.” Suffolk Police have dedicated and specialist staff on hand 24 hours a day to investigate the offence and work with partner agencies to support victims and pursue the best outcome for them. If you need to speak to Suffolk Constabulary if you are a victim or if you have concerns or information about somebody you know dial 101 or staff at The Ferns Sexual Assault Referral Centre on 0300 123 5058. In an emergency always dial 999. Visit www.suffolk.police.uk/safetyadvice/personalsafety/rapetimetostop/rapeandsexualassault.aspx or www.theferns-suffolk.org.uk/ for safety advice and information on services provided in Suffolk. Further information on the national campaign can be found at: www.sexualabuseandsexualviolenceawarenessweek.org/ There will be a Twitter hashtag in use throughout the week on social media #itsnotokay.