Operation Protect: Sexual Violence
If you’re planning on enjoying a night out at one of Dorset’s town centres, such as Bournemouth and Weymouth, we want to make sure that you enjoy your night and stay safe.
This includes the prevention of alcohol-related rapes and sexual assaults by following personal safety advice including:
- Staying with friends and looking after each other;
- Getting a bus or licensed taxi home;
- Don’t walk home alone or with someone you hardly know; and
- Don’t drink to the extent that affects your judgement.
The campaign also reminds potential offenders that sex without consent or with someone too drunk to consent constitutes rape.
This summer, we have put messages up in pubs, bars and clubs in Weymouth and Bournemouth reminding people to take steps to keep themselves safe.
We have also produced three posters that will be distributed to schools for GCSE and A level students to see.
Also, members of the public in Bournemouth may see our Operation Protect yellow triangles dotted around the town centre on lampposts with key personal safety messages on them. These signs are designed to remind people that are out for the night to make sure they take simple steps to ensure they have a safe night and get home safely.
Figures from last year show that alcohol featured in the majority of allegations of night time economy rapes in Dorset, as well as featuring in one in three violent crimes across the county last year.
In most cases of rape, victims actually know their attacker – so called ‘stranger rapes’ are very rare.
It is vitally important that women stay with their group of friends when they are out drinking, don’t get separated and end up on your own.
Also, never walk home alone – especially if you’ve drunk alcohol. Make sure you get home safely at the end of the night – get a licensed taxi or go home with friends.
If you are drunk you may be risking your own safety by becoming separated from friends or trusting a stranger and therefore leaving yourself vulnerable.
Detective Superintendent Sara Glen said: “We understand that people want to go out drinking and have a good time.
“However, it is so important that people make sure they don’t leave themselves vulnerable by drinking too much, staggering home alone or going home drunk with someone they barely know.
“If you are going out drinking, stay in your group of friends and make sure you get home safely by getting a licensed taxi or a bus.
“Stranger rapes are extremely rare in Dorset. In most allegations of rape, the victim knows their attacker.
“Women in particular need to be aware when they are on a night out that alcohol can affect their decision making, leading to situations in which they become vulnerable.
“If a person drinks to excess and is left unable to give consent, but someone decides to have sex with them, then this is rape. We are asking people to consider the consequences of their actions.
“It is important for people to understand what rape is – and that we will take action if they cross the line."
This video clip was produced for a campaign run by The Havens. The Havens are specialist centres in London for people who have been raped or sexually assaulted. Since the first of The Havens was opened in 2000 they have helped over 11,000 people. The video asks viewers to consider ‘where the line is’ when is comes to rape and sexual assault and has graphic content which some viewers may find distressing. Parental guidance is, therefore, advisable. By following this link you will be leaving the Dorset Police website. Dorset Police is not responsible for the content on external websites.
If you have been the victim of rape or sexual assault please come forward and report it Dorset Police. Please phone 101 to report the crime. We have specially trained staff available to support you and investigate these types of offences.