Deputy Minster and Chief Whip Jane Hutt, along with New Pathways CEO Jackie Stamp and Chief Constable Pam Kelly of Gwent Police, unite to reinforce the importance of shining a light on sexual violence and empowering victims to seek support for Sexual Violence Awareness Week 2021.
The Welsh Government continues to work with partner organisations to highlight the important message that support will always be there for victims of sexual violence.
Deputy Minister and Chief Whip Jane Hutt stated:
Unfortunately, we all know that sexual violence and abuse affects every community across our country. It’s a stark and horrid reality, but we also know, that in order to combat the problem, we must shine a light on it, raise awareness of it and ensure that we empower victims to seek help and support.
I’m immensely proud that, we have the ‘Live Fear Free’ service, a free 24 hour helpline that provides help and support to victims and survivors of sexual violence and domestic abuse.
Our continued message to victims and survivors across Wales is clear; we are here to support you, wherever and however you need it.
Jackie Stamp, CEO of New Pathways stated:
Sadly, shame and stigma prevent the vast majority of people from speaking up about rape and sexual abuse and when they do, they are often met with judgement or are not believed.
This past year, demand for our counselling, advocacy and training services has increased dramatically. We delivered over 4000 training courses last year and currently, we provide over 500 personal counselling sessions each week and advocacy services to 638 individuals of all ages and from all backgrounds.
That’s why it’s so important to create a society and develop systems that encourage people to come forward and get the help they need.
Highlighting the importance of reporting sexual violence, Chief Constable Pam Kelly of Gwent Police said:
Our message during Sexual Violence Awareness Week and every week to victims of sexual violence is please do not suffer in silence. Please report it to police, we will be there for you when you ask for help and make sure that you’re safe.
I know it can be difficult to come forward to report your experiences, particularly during this time with Covid-19 regulations in place, but I want to reassure anyone considering doing so that there is a whole range of support out there, not only from the police but from partner agencies. Gwent Police takes all reports of sexual violence seriously and we will investigate and provide support to anyone who has been affected.
We recognise that for some, home will not be a safe place. Don’t worry about the restrictions on movement – seek help if you’re in danger. I would urge anyone who has experienced sexual violence to seek support and report it to us via 101 or 999 in an emergency.
Jane Hutt concluded:
Each day, we’re continually looking for new and innovative ways to ensure the information, help and support for victims of sexual violence and domestic abuse is heard, that’s why we’re working closely with a multitude of partner organisations and the Police and I’m genuinely grateful for everything they do.
To all the victims and survivors of sexual violence and abuse, we reiterate the message, we are here to support you, wherever and however you need it.