What are you looking for?

14 February 2022 | Podcasts | Article by Alan Collins

Sexual Abuse & Sexual Violence Awareness Week 2022: HJ Talks About Abuse


Sexual Abuse & Sexual Violence Awareness Week 2022: HJ Talks About AbuseSexual Abuse & Sexual Violence Awareness Week 2022: HJ Talks About AbuseSexual Abuse & Sexual Violence Awareness Week 2022: HJ Talks About Abuse

In this podcast Alan and Feleena discuss Sexual Abuse & Sexual Violence Awareness Week. It is a UK national week to raise awareness and provides an opportunity for any organisation or individual to engage in dialogue about the subject. For 2022 it takes place from the 7th to 13th of February.

Alan and Feleena take this opportunity to discuss some of the 2022 campaigns.

The NHS

The NHS have announced two key things. First, the NHS have created and launched, on 7 February 2022, two new clinical lead roles which will focus on domestic violence and sexual assault. These roles will work alongside the existing domestic violence support for the NHS and integrated care systems across the country.

The roles and related campaigning will highlight the specialist support offered at dozens of sexual assault referral centres (SARCs) in England who are for survivors of all ages and sexes. SARCs offer confidential support (practical, medical and emotional) to those raped/sexually assaulted/abused regardless of how long ago it occurred.

The second is that there will be a £20 million funding boost for sexual assault and domestic violence services over the next three years.

A campaign video will also shortly be released which is expected to raise awareness of SARCs and answer common questions of survivors.

This is particularly vital given the fact that the number of people receiving help from NHS SARCs halved after the first lockdown compared to 2019, despite official figures showing that domestic abuse and sexual assault had increased.

Other Campaign Groups

Many campaign groups take this week as an opportunity to raise concerns over misconceptions and misunderstandings. For example, The Rowan Project an East-Anglia based charity offering free counselling for rape victims, highlighted the language we shouldn’t accept, use or normalise when it comes tosexual violence. Troubling terms include:

  • underage women – “child”
  • child prostitute – “victim” or “survivor”
  • sex with a minor – “rape”
  • non-consensual sex – “rape”

The police also often contribute to the week. The Police Service of Northern Ireland, for example, are highlighting the support available to survivors and “myth-busting” common misconceptions that prevent people reporting. The Police have been sharing figures and facts about the process and particularly about “The Rowan”, a centre for survivors. Last year the centre supported 620 people, 60% of whom were referred by the police. This shows how the police can assist in signposting and should be sought out by those who do not know where to turn, even if a criminal case cannot proceed.

NHS England » NHS pledges more support for victims and survivors of sexual assault and abuse alongside powerful awareness campaign

Camilla and May back NHS campaign to help victims and survivors of abuse | NHS | The Guardian

Why the language around sexual assault is important to get right (stylist.co.uk)

[070222] Police see increase in reports of sexual offences in 2021 (psni.police.uk)

We encourage anyone who has concerns about sexual abuse to get in touch. You can contact Alan Collins at [email protected]

Author bio

Alan Collins is one of the best known and most experienced solicitors in the field of child abuse litigation and has acted in many high profile cases, including the Jimmy Savile and Haut de la Garenne abuse scandals.  Alan has represented interested parties before public inquiries including the Independent Jersey Care Inquiry, and IICSA (Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse).

Internationally, Alan works in Australia, South East Asia, Uganda, Kenya, and California representing clients in high profile sexual abuse cases. Alan also spoke at the Third Regional Workshop on Justice for Children in East Asia and the Pacific in Bangkok hosted by Unicef and HCCH (Hague Conference on Private International Law).

Disclaimer: The information on the Hugh James website is for general information only and reflects the position at the date of publication. It does not constitute legal advice and should not be treated as such. If you would like to ensure the commentary reflects current legislation, case law or best practice, please contact the blog author.

Contact one of our experts

Fill in the form and one of our experts will get in touch with you shortly.