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 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.