PFCC Peter McCall is supporting the National Sexual Abuse and Sexual Violence Awareness campaign this week. 

The aim is to generate discussion among the public, statutory bodies, and third-sector organisations about how sexual abuse and sexual violence are not ok.

From April 1, 2022, to March 31, 2023, 119 victims were supported to have a forensic-medical examination following rape or sexual assault, and 63 people sought telephone advice through the Bridgeway Sexual Assault Support Services.

PFCC Peter McCall comments: “Sexual violence and abuse is not ok. We support raising the awareness through the #ITSNOTOK campaign as it has a catastrophic impact on people’s lives and also affects victims’ families.

“It’s essential that we raise awareness of support services for victims of sexual abuse and sexual violence and that the Bridgeway Sexual Assault Support Services can be accessed 24/7 for people that have been victims of rape, sexual assault, and sexual abuse.

“Awareness weeks like this are vital in encouraging people to talk and provide a platform to increase the awareness of what support is available to our communities in Cumbria.

"It is also an opportunity to make it very clear to anyone who may be tempted to abuse others sexually either physically, verbally, through the use of social media or any other method, that it is unacceptable behaviour and those who engage in it will be subject to the full force of the law.

“By sharing this information with the public now, they will be aware of the support is available should they find themselves victims of such a crime.

“I would like to take this opportunity to encourage any victim of sexual abuse or violence to report it to police.

"Your report will be taken seriously and will be thoroughly investigated by police officers. However, it is important to note that support services are available to victims regardless of whether they decide to report the crime to the police or not.

“If you are a victim of a sexual offence, please do not suffer in silence. Help and support is always available.”