Thursday, 13 December 2012

Campaign aims to prevent sexual assaults over festive period


A hard hitting campaign aimed at people out celebrating the festive period has been launched in order to cut the number of sexual assaults that occur over Christmas.

A significant number of rapes and sexual assaults involve alcohol and there can be a rise in reports during December due to more people going out drinking.

Hard hitting posters aimed at potential offenders – detailing the medical procedure carried out to collect evidence of a sexual assault - will be placed in pub and club toilets. Posters aimed at potential victims, which highlight that many sexual assaults occur in a person’s home, will be put up in leisure centres, GP surgeries and other local businesses. Both poster designs will also appear on Facebook.

Detective Chief Inspector Neil Esseen, Lancashire Constabulary, said: “It does not matter what a victim is wearing, how much they have had to drink or if there has been physical contact already – no means no and if there is no consent then there should be no sex. Alcohol can impair the ability of a person to give that proper consent  – so if in doubt, don’t.

“This latest campaign has been launched during the festive period to highlight the fact that Lancashire Constabulary is committed to tackling rape and serious sexual assault, and the campaign is very much aimed at prevention.”

He added: “Rape and sexual assault can be a taboo subject. The images used on our posters have been chosen to grab a person’s attention, create a talking point and raise awareness of the issue.

“Rape is often perceived as an offence committed by strangers. In order to keep people safe, we need to challenge that perception, as we know that in the majority of cases in Lancashire, the victim and the offender know each other. This is often through meeting on a night out where alcohol is a contributory and influencing factor.

“The message to offenders is very clear but uncomfortable - you will be arrested, we will take evidence from you and you will be brought to justice.

“We also want victims to know that they will be treated with compassion and that everything possible will be done to trace those responsible and take action against them. We hope that this will encourage more people to come forward and report what has happened to them.”

• For more information, help and advice on how Lancashire Constabulary deal with reports of rape and sexual assaults visit www.lancashire.police.uk/operation-nexus

• To report an incident contact police on 101. In an emergency always dial 999

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