Serious sexual offences campaign launched ahead of Christmas party season (1 Dec 2016)

Flirt _jpeg _4A campaign aimed at reducing serious sexual offences over the festive season has been launched today. 

West Yorkshire Police has developed a series of posters highlighting the nature of rape and other sexual offences in a bid to reduce the number of crimes being committed. The posters, developed in conjunction with partners and focus groups, will warn that activities such as walking someone home or sharing a kiss are not a crime - but rape is.  

Nationally, Police Forces tend to see an increase in reports of rape and other sexual offences over the festive period. 

Data shows that in the last 12 months, 88% of all rape allegations in the last year were against someone already known to the victim. One in ten serious sexual offences involved the victim or offender being under the influence of drink or drugs. 

Assistant Chief Constable Russ Foster, of West Yorkshire Police, said: "We want everyone to enjoy the party season and our latest campaign is there to give advice about what constitutes rape and tips for a safe night out. 

"People have a lot of misconceptions about what rape is and where the boundaries are in terms of consent. 

Dance _jpeg _4"This campaign highlights that consent is about saying yes, not saying no, and that both parties consent at that time." 

Police are keen to make people think about the difference between consensual sexual contact and rape prior to going out. 

ACC Foster added: "I would like to take this opportunity to remind people that stranger rapes are extremely rare. The vast majority of offences occur within a relationship or where the victim and perpetrator are known to each other. 

"As well as working with late night venues, we want people to be thinking about their personal safety and the safety of others before they start drinking. 

"Police will be working with retailers in the run-up to Christmas and asking them to support our awareness campaign. We hope that when people are out socialising or stocking up on supplies in their local supermarket, our posters might just make them think and encourage them to look out for others." 

West Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner, Mark Burns-Williamson, said: "Rape and other sexual offences are horrendous crimes which have a long lasting impact on the victims. I don't want a single persons' life to be affected by these crimes and prevention is key.  

"I hope this campaign helps people on a night out think about what rape is, and how that innocent dance in the club isn't consent for sex or that flirty kiss at the Christmas party doesn't mean anything else will automatically follow. 

"We also have a dedicated Sexual Assault Referral Centre (SARC) for the victims of sexual offences, both recent and none recent. I would urge anyone that's been a victim or feels like they may have been a victim to make contact so we can get you the appropriate help and support. The Hazelhurst Centre provides the service and can be contacted on 0330 223 0099 and can be found on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/thehazlehurstcentredewsbury."

For more help and advice please visit https://www.westyorkshire.police.uk/staysafe

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© Copyright West Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner 2018