Sexual Abuse and Sexual Violence Awareness Week 2023

Help is there for you.

This year’s Sexual Abuse and Sexual Violence Awareness Week is to make people aware of what support is available.

Wiltshire Police is encouraging people to report any form of sexual violence as part of the #ItsNotOk national campaign.

All week we’ll be raising awareness of rape and sexual assault alongside our partner agencies as well as urging anyone who has been affected to come forward and seek help and support.

Sexual abuse and violence is an act carried out against another person where the motivation is sexual and the victim does not consent. It can be anything from catcalling (which is regarded as street harassment) and flashing to sexual assault and rape.

Detective Inspector Troy Smith said: “This is an annual campaign to highlight to anyone who is a victim of sexual assault that you are not alone and that help is available.
“I understand just how difficult and daunting it may be for a victim to come forward and take that first step in reporting their ordeal and not everyone feels comfortable contacting the police.

“However, if you come to us, please be assured that we take all reports of sexual assault extremely seriously and will give you the right support throughout the process.

“Our officers will investigate thoroughly and do their very best to ensure offenders are held to account and put before the courts.

“And please remember there are many other organisations you can contact if you don’t want to come to us for whatever reason – you don’t ever have to stay silent and feel alone. The most important thing is that, when the time is right, you tell and talk to someone.”

Police and Crime Commissioner Philip Wilkinson said: “I, along with Wiltshire Police and the NHS, co-ordinate the support for victims and survivors of sexual violence across Wiltshire and our SARC (Sexual Assault Referral Centre) makes sure they have the support and medical care they need immediately after an offence has been committed.

“Sexual violence is still an under-reported crime and I want anyone who is affected by this to have the confidence in the criminal justice system that they will be supported and that justice will be served if they report these offences.

“While these services are available for everyone, irrespective of gender, we know that women are disproportionately affected by sexual violence, which is why tackling violence against women and girls is a priority of my police and crime plan.”

To report sexual abuse please phone police on 101 or, if you wish to remain anonymous, via CrimeStoppers on 0800 555 111. In an emergency, always call 999.

For more information, the SARC can be contacted on 01793 781 916.

For children, the NSPCC can also be contacted on 0808 800 5000.