A new campaign has launched on Monday 20 June to highlight the support available for anyone who has been raped, sexually assaulted or abused.
A powerful new film and animation have been released describing the services and support provided by sexual assault referral centres – SARCs – in Wales.
SARCs offer specialist practical, medical, and emotional support for victims and survivors of rape, sexual assault and abuse, regardless of whether they choose to involve the police or not. The films address common questions and concerns many people face after experiencing sexual assault, abuse or rape – including not knowing who to turn to or what to do.
Joanna Williams, Welsh Sexual Assault Services Programme Director, said:
‘The impact of sexual assault or abuse can be devastating. We are running this campaign with the help of funding from the Welsh Government, because it’s vital that people who have been raped or assaulted know that help and support is out there for them, whatever their circumstances and however long ago it happened.
‘Many victims and survivors are worried that they will have to involve the police if they want to get help, but this isn’t the case at all – SARCs are there to offer non-judgemental, compassionate support with no obligation on victims and survivors to take any action they are not comfortable with.’
Jane Hutt, Minister for Social Justice, said:
‘Ensuring that all victims and survivors of sexual violence have access to high quality needs-led services from professionals trained to provide effective, timely and appropriate support are among the key objectives of our strategy to tackle violence against women, domestic abuse and sexual violence.
‘Our strategy recognises that while men form the vast majority of perpetrators of sexual abuse and violence, both women and men can be affected by it. Tackling this will need us all to work together across sectors to ensure that support services are inclusive and sensitive to different needs and experiences.
‘This campaign and the accompanying videos are an important step in getting this message out to victims and survivors who need support.’
WCVA members, voluntary and community organisations across Wales are urged to support the campaign. Please use the resources to share information with your staff, volunteers and services users. Provide details of your nearest SARC, perhaps in a private space like washrooms for all users, so people can make use of the contact details should they need them. Every victim of sexual violence has the right to support from specialist teams.
To find out more about the services that are provided, or to find your nearest SARC, you can visit their website.
Victims in Wales can also call the Live Fear Free helpline, a 24/7 service for all victims and survivors of violence against women, domestic abuse and sexual violence and those close to them, including family, friends and colleagues.
Call: 0808 80 10 800
Text: 0786 007 7333