It’s not OK campaign

Campaign aims to encourage victims of sexual abuse and violence to come forward

Leicestershire Police is supporting a week of action which aims to encourage victims of sexual abuse and violence to come forward to report crimes.

The campaign, which uses the hashtag #ItsNotOk, is aimed at those who typically under report crimes of this nature, including members of faith groups, males and women over 55.

Starting today (Monday 4 February) and running until Sunday 10 February, the force will promote the support services available to victims through a series of messages and videos.

The campaign is also being supported by UAVA (United Against Violence and Abuse), Victim First, and Leicester Rape Crisis, all of whom can offer dedicated help and guidance.

Millicent Gant, manager of the Sexual Assault Referral Centre (SARC) based at Juniper Lodge, Leicestershire, said: “This is an important campaign which aims to raise awareness of sexual abuse and sexual violence.

Both are extremely sensitive subjects and it is our hope that this week will encourage more people to speak out.

“Victims of sexual violence or sexual abuse are not alone.

There are many specialist services available run by dedicated professionals offering emotional and practical support.

Our aim is to break down barriers including gender and culture which could prevent some from reaching out, whether you wish to formally report to the Police or not.

"Juniper Lodge provides a confidential service for anyone over the age of 18 who has been raped or sexually assaulted either recently or at any time in the past, regardless of gender, language, or cultural identity.”

Seetal Rajput, senior independent violence advisor at UAVA, said: “UAVA Ltd stands for United Against Violence and Abuse.

We are a consortium of three local specialist providers of domestic abuse and sexual violence services.

“Sexual assault and rape is a traumatic and extremely stressful experience, whether it was by someone known or by a complete stranger. UAVA has a specialist team of Independent Sexual Violence Advisers. This service is for anyone male or female, living in Leicester,

Leicestershire and Rutland, who has experienced rape or sexual assault.

This could be as a result of a recent incident or something that has happened in the past. We are here to help and support during a difficult time and help along the road to recovery.”

Joe Raby from Victim First added: “This campaign can be significant in creating an open discussion around sexual violence and abuse and the ways in which organisations can provide support.

“Hopefully this week will help people feel confident to talk about this area, ask questions and challenge myths and stereotypes so that we continue to help victims feel more comfortable accessing support.

“Victim First supports all victims and these cases do not have to be reported to the police. We provide dedicated caseworkers to find the right support path for individuals.”

A spokeswoman for Leicester Rape Crisis at Jasmine House, which provides support to females aged 13 upwards who have suffered from recent or historic sexual abuse, said: “Our support services range from a telephone helpline, one-to-one support, and counselling.

“Later this month we will also be launching a family support group, a young girls support group 13 - 17 and an adults support group. All our services are provided free of charge to those affected by the impact of sexual violence living in Leicester City, Leicestershire or Rutland.”

Support is available from the following:

UAVA on 0808 80 20028

Victim First on 0800 953 959

Rape Crisis on 0116 2558852