Warwickshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner Ron Ball is supporting the ‘Stop Rape Now’ campaign and says he hopes it will lead to an increase in the numbers reported in the county.
Mr Ball says rape often goes unreported and that this needs to change to start tackling the crime.
He said: “I’d like to give my wholehearted support to the “Stop Rape Now” campaign. There is widespread agreement that rape is an under reported crime, so it is one area where I would like to see an increase in reported offences.
“On Wednesday of next week (26th June) I will be attending the opening of the Blue Sky Centre at the George Eliot Hospital in Nuneaton – a unit specifically designed and resourced to deal with victims of all forms of sexual violence. As a country we have not taken these crimes anything like seriously enough.
“The centre is a joint venture between the police, Warwickshire County Council, Coventry City Council, the NHS, and voluntary organisations in Coventry and Warwickshire and will be opened by Baroness Stern of Vauxhall CBE.”
StopRapeNow.co.uk is a new campaign launched this week by police, health, councils and support agencies across the Warwickshire and West Mercia region that aims to challenge the public’s understanding of consent.
Based on reporting to the police, there is an increase in the number of rapes committed during the warmer summer months, particularly among young people and the campaign aims to help address this.
Fay Maxted of The Survivors Trust said: “Some people still do not understand what consent is. It does not matter how revealing someone’s clothes may be, how much they have drunk, if you’ve already kissed, or if you’re in a long term relationship, sex without consent is rape. Rape is never the victim’s fault.”
Det Supt Graeme Pallister said: “A woman has the right to say no at any point. And if there’s any question about whether she’s drunk too much to give consent, assume she hasn’t given it. If she hasn’t consented and you still have sex with her, it is rape. Being drunk yourself is no defence either.
“A man can be raped too – the offence can only be committed by another man, but women can be charged with being an accessory to rape or assault by penetration.”
Visit the new StopRapeNow.co.uk website for more information.
Tony Mumford, Blue Sky Centre SARC Manager said: “Please remember that rape can happen to anyone – it does not matter what age or sex you are. It is never your fault and you don’t have to keep it to yourself, there are many local agencies that can help you and we are always available even if it is just to discuss your options and what is best for you. You might decide to report what has happened to the police at the time, later or never, that is up to you but your health and welfare is the most important thing.”