Flag Market in Preston will hold event dedicated to North West Sexual Violence Awareness Week
The week-long initiative is led by North West Police and Crime Commissioners, police authorities, and sexual assault and abuse services.
Each day throughout the week a county will be hosting their own dedicated event/activity to raise awareness within their communities. These range from art installations from university students to moments of reflection in the form of vigils, all of which aim to engage local communities and promote the support available to survivors of sexual violence.
Using art, music, stalls and survivor stories the Lancashire-wide event will be open to the public. Led by a cross-sector working group, all statutory and voluntary, community, faith and social enterprise sector organisations are invited to join this in-person event.
There will also be an art unveiling from university students and survivors from across the county, alongside a moment of reflection and remembrance for survivors of sexual violence with spoken-word poetry which takes place from 5pm-6pm. Attendees are encouraged to bring a torch or LED light and wear purple.
In addition, iconic buildings such as the Blackpool Tower, Chester’s Clock Tower and Merseyside’s Radio City tower will all be lit up purple in solidarity for survivors of sexual violence.
Rebecca Williams, Project Lead and Sexual Violence Communications and Engagement Manager said: “We are encouraging people across the North West to talk openly about sexual violence and their experiences, whether that be to a friend, family or one of the specialist organisations.
“Sexual violence can happen to anyone at anytime and anywhere. You are not alone!
“Previously finding a local specialist service may have been difficult or overwhelming due to the vast amount of information online. Working with survivors and local organisations, we have launched a new website https://sexualviolencesupport.co.uk/ that will help you find the service that is right for you.
“In addition, we have created ‘support packs’ which provide explanations of what sexual violence is, how you can seek help, how you can support others and a simplified guide on report to court.”
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. But it is not just females who are victims!
Approximately 12,000 men (aged 16-59) are raped in the UK every year and more than 70,000 are sexually abused or assaulted.
Police Crime Commissioners, police forces, local authorities, and NHS England all fund sexual violence support services. These services may vary across localities but together they aim to offer the same level of care no matter where a survivor lives. From specialist forensic and medical sites called Sexual Assault Referral Centres (SARCs) to aftercare provisions like counselling, group therapy and Independent Sexual Violence Advisors (ISVAs), these services aim to work in unison to give every victim of sexual violence the support they need.
If you or someone you know is a victim of sexual violence you can contact the police direct on 101, or in an emergency call 999.
If you do not wish to contact the police, you can self-refer to a specialist organisation directly. To find your local organisation, visit our website https://sexualviolencesupport.co.uk/
To join in with the campaign or find out more information, visit https://sexualviolencesupport.co.uk/campaigns/nwsvweek/ or email [email protected]