Survey finds out how to make it easier for sex assault victims

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A TELEPHONE survey line has just opened with an aim to find out how services in the region can make it easier for sexual assault victims to seek support.

The survey is taking place to ensure people who report sexual assault in the future get the treatment they want and feel more comfortable to report this crime and access services.

Anyone who has been ever been affected by sexual assault in the past is urged to come forward and share their experiences.

The survey line will be available between 8am and 8pm from 8 to 19 August on 0870 2422230 (local rate).

Anyone calling the number will speak to a friendly advisor who will talk to them about their experience of the whole sexual assault reporting process.

Questions cover making an initial report of sexual assault to forensic testing, and any further medical treatment or counselling support people may have received. This is a very under-reported area (British Crime Survey data suggests only 11 per cent of victims of serious sexual assault told the police about the incident) so people who chose not to report are also invited to respond to help provide an understanding of why this may be the case.

The telephone line is only one way to take part in the consultation which runs throughout August. An online version of the survey is available at www.makingiteasier.info until the end of the month.

Four focus groups are also taking place and anyone wishing to take part should call 01926 742046 or email makeiteasier@warwickshire.gov.uk for details of when and where these are taking place. Involvement in this consultation is strictly confidential but information gathered will inform how services are provided in the future.

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.safelinewarwick.co.uk

Rape or Sexual Abuse Support Project (RoSA) on 01788 551151 www.rosasupport.org 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.