Submitted by Carrie Brookes on 3 Feb 2020 - 4:36pm
Victims of sexual violence are being told “you are believed” as organisations across Teesside hold a week of events to spread the message that sexual abuse is unacceptable.
Representatives from charities, health, policing and local authorities are coming together during Sexual Violence Awareness Week to empower victims and send out a clear message that Teesside will be saying ‘It’s Not OK’.
Sexual Violence Awareness Week is the UK’s national week to raise awareness of sexual abuse and violence. It runs from today until Sunday (February 3 to February 9). Representatives from the local agencies will be sharing news about their good work on local radio and holding stalls in North Tees and James Cook hospitals, where you will be able to get information about support services across Teesside.
These services include Teesside Sexual Assault Referral Centre, based in North Ormesby, Middlesbrough, which offers confidential advice and support as well as medical and forensic examinations, whether or not you wish to make a report to police.
Anyone can refer themselves to the SARC and the service supports victims from all walks of life, whatever their gender, race or sexual orientation.
As part of Sexual Violence Awareness week, SARC Teesside will be opening its doors to give professionals a better insight into the work that goes on there. The monthly tours begin Tuesday, February 4 and the first session is already fully booked.
SARC Teesside is delivered by Safe In Tees Valley, which also provides Independent Sexual Violence Advisor (ISVA) services, who help victims to navigate the criminal justice system, through its partner ARCH North East.
Nicky Harkin, CEO of ARCH North East said, “Sexual Violence Awareness Week is growing in momentum year on year which is fantastic to see. It’s important to keep raising the profile of the issue as we know that so many people are impacted.
“Weeks like this are a great way to raise the profile of services like ARCH and to let people know that support is available. Sexual Abuse is not ok and we want to let people know that we provide a safe and confidential space for them to get the support they may need.”
In their efforts to raise awareness that #ItsNotOK, local authorities will Light Up The Night by turning local landmarks green. Middlesbrough Council’s fountain in Centre Square and Redcar’s Community Heart will both go green for the occasion.
Other events taking place include:
· SARC delivering training to forensics students at Teesside University;
· Stalls at Teesside University students’ union building;
· PCC Barry Coppinger visiting ARCH to learn about the CPD training package;
· ARCH’s media day,
· SARC delivering training to North Tees Hospital’s A&E team.
To find out how you can get involved, visit: https://www.sarcteesside.co.uk/itsnotok-2020/