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Sexual abuse victims urged to speak out as part of week long awareness campaign

PUBLISHED: 14:44 02 February 2018 | UPDATED: 14:44 02 February 2018

Detective Superintendent Eamonn Bridger. Photo: Archant.

Detective Superintendent Eamonn Bridger. Photo: Archant.

Victims of sexual abuse and violence are being encouraged to speak out as part of a national week-long campaign to raise awareness.

Sexual Abuse and Sexual Violence Awareness Week takes place from Monday, February 5 to Sunday, February 11.

The hashtag - #ItsNotOk will be used to raise awareness of the issues across social media.

Suffolk Police are supporting the campaign along with organisations, individuals and agencies across the county.

Det Supt Eamonn Bridger, head of safeguarding at Suffolk Constabulary, said: “The effect on victims of sexual abuse and violence can be devastating and long lasting.

“I hope that this week of awareness will help to reassure victims that Suffolk Constabulary and its partners are committed to delivering excellent services to the victims of serious sexual offences.

“There has been significant investment in investigators and support services across the county and the Constabulary investment is now greater than ever.”

The Sexual Assault Referral Centre (SARC) called The Ferns in Ipswich, supports the work of Suffolk Police in investigating serious sexual offences.

It offers victims 24-hour medical care alongside emotional and practical support.

Sexual abuse can happen to anyone and the service is open to women, children and men.

Mr Bridger said: “We understand that victims might not want to tell police immediately what has happened to them so the role of the SARC is crucial here, offering a service that enables information to be given confidentially in a private, comfortable environment.”

The Ferns provides medical examinations following a recent rape or sexual assault – without police involvement.

However, if at any time a victim decides to talk to police this can be arranged.

It also offers the opportunity for those who have suffered abuse in the past to come and talk with trained crisis workers to discuss what happened to them and to see what support they may need to aid their recovery.

Anyone who would like to speak to someone in confidence about sexual abuse or violence can contact Suffolk Police on 101, or staff at The Ferns on 0300 1235058 or via email contact@theferns-suffolk.org.uk

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