‘It’s Not OK’ forms part of the national Sexual Abuse and Sexual Violence Awareness Week campaign (7-13 February), by raising awareness of the local support services available to those who have been subjected to sexual violence.
Leicestershire Police have partnered with a variety of Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland agencies who can provide different types of support, including the county’s universities, Juniper Lodge, Victim First and First Step.
Leicestershire Police have also launched a new way for those who have been subjected to sexual violence to report it. They have created an online reporting facility for those who are not comfortable ringing and speaking to someone to discuss what has happened. You can view the reporting tool here.
Manager of Juniper Lodge, a Sexual Assault Referral Centre known as a SARC, Millie Gant, said: “Sexual abuse and sexual violence are sensitive topics, and we hope that our involvement in this week of awareness will encourage conversations which normally are avoided. We know there are barriers that impact people choosing to come forward and we want to reassure those people that you will be treated non-judgementally.
“Every person contacting us is given the time and space to discuss what they want to, with no pressure to report to the police. The SARC is a safe place where you can discuss your options with a crisis worker regardless of your gender or gender identity. How you choose to proceed is entirely up to you, you will be wholly supported with all the decisions you make.
“If you have been a victim of sexual abuse or violence or have concerns about a loved one, please know that we, support organisations and the police, are accessible to you for advice. This can be either by telephone or online if you feel it is too overwhelming to pick up the phone.”
You can view the testimonials of those who have used the local support services on Leicestershire Police’s Twitter profile throughout the week.
The University has a dedicated microsite with information on the options available to you if you have been subjected to sexual violence; as well as additional resources discussing consent and the recovery process for those subjected to sexual violence. The University also has an Incident Reporting Tool available if you would like to make us aware of an incident that has happened. This information applies to both students and staff at the University.
Lisa Brooks-Lewis, Manager of the Duty, Assessment, and Inclusivity (DAI) team and Co-Chair of the University’s Sexual Violence Working Group added: “Loughborough University remains committed to providing a trauma-informed service for students who have been subjected to sexual violence. The team can discuss your options, provide holistic support and will always listen.”
Please remember that if you have been subjected to sexual violence, whatever you choose to do next is completely up to you. The University and other services will be there to support you and the decision you make.