Making it easier to report sexual assault

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SERVICES across the area need help from the public to make it easier for victims of sexual assault to seek support.

Agencies in Coventry and Warwickshire, including councils, health services, the police, and the voluntary sector are working together to establish a Sexual Assault Referral Centre (SARC).

A SARC is a one-stop location where victims of rape, sexual abuse and serious sexual assault, regardless of gender or age, can receive medical care and counselling.

To ensure people who will be using the SARC get treated the way they want and feel more comfortable using the centre, we are urging anyone who has been ever been affected by sexual assault to come forward and share their experiences.

A consultation is currently underway which looks at all areas of the sexual assault reporting process, from initial contact to forensic testing, and any further medical treatment or counselling support received.

To sensitively address this distressing subject, the consultation offers a number of different ways for people to get in touch. An online survey will be open now until 31 August at www.makeiteasier.info or for those people who would prefer to speak to someone by phone, a dedicated survey line will be available between 8am and 8pm from 8 to 19 August on 0870 2422230 (local rate).

Four focus groups will also take place in August, call 01926 742046 or email makeiteasier@warwickshire.gov.uk for details of when and where these are taking place. Your involvement in this consultation will be strictly confidential.

SARC Project Managers Tony Mumford and Amy Danahay are the driving force behind the project and see this consultation as key to the process.

Tony said: “We want to hear from anyone who may have used sexual assault services in Coventry or Warwickshire in the past, it is important for us to find out what they thought about the whole process and to understand more about how we could be better. It is also useful for us to hear from people who didn’t report and to find out the reasons why.”

Amy added: “The experiences of survivors will be so valuable in shaping the future of sexual assault services offered in the region and we really hope people will be able to come forward and help us all to get it right.”

“It does not matter if the assault occurred months or even years ago, please still come forward and have a say.”

Sexual assault can affect anyone, male or female, adult or child. If you have been sexually assaulted and need support agencies in Coventry and Warwickshire want to help you.

Safeline can be contacted on 01926 408315 www.safeline.co.uk

Rape or Sexual Abuse Support Project (RoSA) on 01788 551151 www.survivorguide.co.uk

Coventry Rape & Sexual Abuse Centre (CRASAC) Helpline 02476 277 777 www.crasac.org.uk

Terence Higgins Trust on 0247 622 9292 www.tht.org.uk

To report a rape or sexual assault to the police, please call 01926 415000. In an emergency dial 999