Police and Partners Launch Anti Sexual Violence and Domestic Abuse Campaign
Dorset Police, in partnership with Bournemouth Borough Council and Safer Poole Partnership, has launched an anti-domestic abuse and sexual violence campaign centred on consent and that ‘no matter what our relationship’ sex without consent is rape.
Officers wish to highlight the close connection with sexual violence and domestic abuse. Most cases of sexual violence are carried out by someone close to or known to the victim.
Sexual violence is any unwanted sexual contact or harassment. It includes pressurising someone to have sex or take part in sexual activity such as groping and sexual touching when they don’t want to or they haven’t, or can’t give their consent.
Physical violence, sexual violence, stalking, controlling or manipulative behaviour and harassment are all forms of relationship abuse.
Detective Chief Inspector of Dorset Police’s Public Protection Unit, Jez Noyce, said: “The aim of this campaign is to empower victims to seek help, signpost them to appropriate services and send out a clear message to perpetrators that domestic abuse and sexual violence will not be tolerated or taken lightly.
"Have a conversation. If the other person doesn’t say ‘yes’, is afraid or unable to give clear consent, stop!
“Abuse and sexual violence in relationships is not normal or acceptable – if you are in an abusive relationship or have been sexually assaulted or raped it’s never your fault and you don’t have to put up with it.
“You don’t have to suffer in silence. Sexual violence can be stopped if you seek support.”
Analysis shows that domestic abuse significantly increases at weekends and there is a particular correlation between instances of domestic abuse and the Christmas period.
In response to this Dorset Police will again run Operation Maple from 04th December 2015 until 03rd January 2016, with officers conducting welfare visits to high risk victims of domestic abuse.
Dorset Police and Crime Commissioner Martyn Underhill said: “Domestic abuse is all about control and we know that is the same in relationships where sexual violence occurs.
“My message is that if he or she doesn’t say no, it doesn’t mean they say yes to sex and we have to get that message across. We must make sure that we signpost people for help or to report such incidents.”
Detective Chief Inspector, Jez Noyce continued: “Sex with someone who doesn’t want it is rape. It does not make a difference whether the people know each other, or what relationship they have. Just because you are in a relationship with someone, it doesn’t make it ok.
“Rape does not have to involve physical force – threatening violence, or having sex with someone who is incapable because they’re drunk or asleep is rape.
“You should never have to do something sexual that you don’t feel comfortable with, even if many of your friends are comfortable with similar situations or if you’ve done it before. Being in a relationship with someone does not make it ok for them to force you to do something you don’t want to do.”
Councillor Karen Rampton, Cabinet Portfolio Holder for Community Safety and Chair of the Safer Poole Partnership Board, Borough of Poole, said: “If you are living in fear of your partner, ex-partner or family member, whatever your background, gender or sexual orientation, there is help available. This includes emergency refuge accommodation, outreach services, legal advice and injunctions, housing advice, counselling, and many other services.
“Domestic abuse and sexual violence are priorities for the Safer Poole Partnership.”
Dorset Police has specially trained officers to investigate sexual violence and support victims. Call 101 for non-emergencies only, and call 999 in an emergency. All reports will be dealt with in confidence.
For further information and support:
The Shores, Dorset Sexual Assault Referral Centre (SARC) - Expert team providing high quality care to men, women, children and young people who have been affected by rape and serious sexual assault.
Telephone: 01202 552056
Dorset Rape Crisis
Telephone: 01202 308855
National Domestic Abuse helpline
Telephone: 0808 2000 247
Perpetrators – For advice about changing behaviour, call the Respect helpline on: 0845 122 8609.
For a list of local and national organisations that can help you, visit: www.dorsetforyou.com/dvahelp.
For young people experiencing abuse visit: http://thisisabuse.direct.gov.uk/ for advice and support.
Issued: 25 November 2015