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Victims of rape and sexual assault encouraged to speak up

March 13, 2013, 2:39 pm

As the media report on false rape claims across the country following a Crown Prosecution Study about allegations made, we wanted to reassure residents of Avon and Somerset that claims like these are rare.

Over recent years we have done a great deal of work of ensure the services available to victims of rape and sexual assaults are of a high standard. With dedicated teams and officers across the force who investigate these serious crimes, the victim always remains at the heart of what we do.

There is a common misconception that false allegations of this crime are rife and this undermines the work we do to encourage those who have been abused to come forward.

The statistics reelased today highlighted that:

•Out of 159 suspected cases referred to the CPS, 35 ended in a prosecution.
•Almost half of the accusers were aged under 21, some were under 16.
•92% of those prosecuted were women.
•98% of those accused of rape were men, and the majority were aged over 21

Chief Superintendent Sarah Crew who leads on rape and sexual assault in Avon and Somerset said: “Rape and sexual assault is a serious crime that we are committed to investigating thoroughly in a bid to bring those responsible to justice.

“Across Avon and Somerset we have dedicated teams that consist of officers who specialise in this area. This ensures that all allegations are investigated thoroughly and to the highest level.

“There are rare instances when an allegation has been made, that further evidence is identified as part of the course of the investigation that exonerates the accused. In some cases this may halt the criminal investigation.

“We are meticulous in seeking the truth and will either prove or disprove the claim.”

Superintendent Crew added: “Every allegation of rape and sexual assault is taken seriously and victims should feel confident in coming to us for help and support. We are dedicated to providing a tailored service to all, with support of services including the Bridge and Safe Link.

“At the same time, anyone investigated for rape and sexual assault will be listened to and treated fairly. They are innocent of the crime until proven guilty in a court of law.”

As well as dedicated support services that can be accessed by all we have also been working with schools and colleges across the force to educate young people about consent and making false claims.

The ‘Only Yes Means Yes’ campaign addresses what rape and sexual assault is and also talks about what happens if both parties don’t agree to the act. It’s been well received by school and has been rolled out to other forces and organisations across the country.

For more information about our awareness work, support services and the ‘Only Yes Means Yes’ campaign visit www.rapeaware.org

For more information about rape and sexual, how to report it and where to get help visit www.rapeaware.org

 
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