North West Sexual Violence Awareness Week aims to raise awareness of sexual violence and the support services available to survivors.
It is taking place from 8-14 November and to mark the launch of the campaign on Monday, 7,000 Survivor Support Packs will be distributed across Merseyside.
“The focus is really is on making sure that people are aware of what support is out there if you have suffered rape or sexual assault or any form of sexual violence,” Merseyside’s Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) Emily Spurrell explained to LiverpoolWorld .
“We know that it is a incredibly traumatic experience to go through something like that. And whether you report it to the police or not, there is so much support that is available.”
The phrase sexual violence is an umbrella term that refers to crimes like sexual abuse and assault. It refers to any unwanted sexual act or activity such as rape, sexual abuse, sexual assault, sexual harassment and more.
What are the Survivor Support Packs?
The packs, which have been paid for by Merseyside’s PCC and the North West Strategic Direction for Sexual Assault and Abuse Services Partner Network (SAAS), provide essential information about the specialist support available across the region and the reporting options survivors have available to them.
The packs are designed to guide victims through the emotional and legal process of dealing with sexual abuse, including a step-by-step guide from reporting a crime right through to court.
They also include additional information from the specialist sexual violence support services commissioned by the Police Commissioner – RASA Merseyside and the Rape and Sexual Abuse Support Centre (RASASC) for Cheshire and Merseyside.
The packs are set to be distributed to victim support services, the Sexual Assault Referral Centre, GPs surgeries and libraries across the region.
In addition, they will be provided to survivors by Merseyside Police’s specialist Unity Team, which is a unit dedicated to investigating reports of sexual assaults.
You can also access and download the entire pack on the official website.
Reaction to the initiative
Becky Williams, Sexual Violence Communications and Engagement Manager for the SAAS, said:“It is hoped that these packs will make it easier for survivors of sexual violence to come forward and speak out. The packs contain key information which highlight support and reporting options available across Merseyside.”
According to the World Health Organisation, one in three women endure physical or sexual violence, and one in four adolescent girls ages 15-19 who have had a relationship have been subjected to either physical or sexual violence.
On Thursday, between 11:00 and 16:00, residents are invited to meet local organisations and community groups who support survivors of sexual violence at the Liverpool Guild of Students. There’ll then be a vigil at St John’s Beacon in the evening.
Radio City Tower, Wallasey Town Hall and Greystone Footbridge will be lighting up purple as Liverpool communities come together to stand up to abuse and sexual violence.