‘Rape: Time to Stop’ campaign launches across Norfolk and Suffolk

A major campaign is being launched in Norfolk and Suffolk to prevent rape and raise awareness about the help available for victims.

'Rape: Time to Stop' sees police join with sexual assault referral centres (SARC) in both counties to help victims of sexual offences, including rape.

The summer months between June and September see a surge in rape attacks.

Assistant Chief Constable Charlie Hall, who leads on protective services, said: 'We want to prevent people becoming victims and ensure they have confidence to come forward.

'This campaign is all about raising awareness.

'The SARC centres provide a professional service to victims and the campaign is not only about prosecutions but also about supporting the victims.'

The campaign is particularly targeted at women and men aged 17-24.

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National and local trends have shown reported sexual offences have increased year-on-year since 2004, with rape accounting for 40 per cent of reported cases.

The SARC centre in Norwich, The Harbour Centre, opened in 2010, and the Suffolk centre, The Ferns, in 2011. Both provide 24-hour help and support to victims of sex offences, including counselling and a medical examination, with no obligation to go to the police.

DCI David Cutler of Suffolk Police said one of the reasons for the cross-county approach was that both victims and offenders travel between Norfolk and Suffolk regularly for nights out or work and so the campaign is not restricted to one county.

Diana Baxter, manager of the Norwich SARC centre, said: 'People who are worried about coming forward and telling the police have a chance to tell us first and find out what their options are.'

A campaign video, entitled Look What You Did, tells the story of three victims of rape and sexual assault, documenting the journey victims have taken and the support they received from the SARC centres.

Buy the Evening News tomorrow for our full coverage of the campaign, and an interview with a rape victim who says SARC saved her life.