Hampshire police hope to reduce number of sex assaults

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A WEEK-LONG awareness campaign around sexual assault will start on Monday.

Hampshire Constabulary’s Rape Awareness Week is supported by the Crown Prosecution Service, charity Rape Crisis and the region’s sexual assault referral centre – Treetops.

The aim is to reinforce important messages about personal safety and how to prevent becoming a victim of sexual assault.

But the police force is working with other authorities to promote the services of local support agencies and encourage victims to report sexual assaults to the police.

Detective Inspector Ben Snuggs said: ‘We, along with our partners, want to raise awareness of the current issues of rape and sexual assault.

‘And we want to provide people with the information to help prevent them from becoming a victim, encourage those who have been sexually assaulted to report it and give details of where to go for help and support.

‘At all times the campaign seeks to reassure victims that anyone who reports a sexual assault will be treated with dignity and respect and that all reports are taken very seriously and dealt with in a sensitive, professional and non-judgemental way.’

Each day the campaign will focus on a different aspect of the investigation and prevention of sexual assaults from a police perspective as well as the partners they work very closely with.

Police say analysis of sexual assault cases show there is often an increase in reports of assaults during the summer months.

Detectives say this is possibly because lighter evenings encourage people to stay out drinking for longer or because of the increase in the number of young people socialising during the summer break.

The force also found consent is one of the biggest issues in reported incidents of rape and sexual assault.