1. ITV Report

Rape awareness campaign launched in the Midlands

One of the campaign posters Photo: West Midlands Police

A campaign is being launched in the West Midlands to tackle attitudes towards rape by offenders and would-be offenders.

West Midlands Police say the adverts will help to raise awareness of what actually constitues sexual assault and will encourage victims to report crimes to the police.

On Monday, a powerful set of adverts will begin to appear in bars and clubs, in addition to buses and trains. They will shatter misconceptions about what is or is not a crime and will drive home the consequences of committing a serious sexual offence.

Controversial? West Midlands Police make offenders the focus of new advertising campaign for rape awareness.

One rape victim, who cannot be named, has spoken of how a man she met in a Walsall club raped her in a park before acting 'as though nothing had happened'. He was later jailed for six years.

She said of her attacker: "He knew what he'd done. But he just thought it was acceptable. And it wasn't".

The 23-year-old has decided to tell her story in an effort to reassure other victims about how seriously reports are taken and the wide variety of support that is available.

"I was supported all the way through the process (by the police and courts). It's nice just to know that people are thinking of you and are there to support you- and believe you".

It's hoped that the unconventional focus of the advertising - on offenders, rather than victims - will challenge perceptions around what sexual assault really means.

The launch of the campaign comes at a time of the year when the force anticipates a possible rise in the number of serious sexual assaults, based on previous crime trends.

Statistics show that if a rape or serious sexual assault is reported to West Midlands Police within 24 hours, it doubles the chances of finding the person responsible.

  • Each week, 40 serious sexual offences are reported in the West Midlands
  • Detection rates reduce by 50% if the offence is not reported within 24 hours
  • Over half of rapes reported to police are committed by an attacker who knows their victim
  • Most 'acquaintance' rapes take place at night, over the weekend

Detective Chief Superintendent Simon Hyde, said: "Much of the time offenders don't even realise what they've done is a crime and are almost delusional about what has happened.

"They think because their victim doesn't say 'no' or doesn't physically try to resist the attack, that they are therefore consenting to sex, but that is absolutely no excuse.

"Chief Supt. Hyde added: "Many victims don't want to report the matter to us and it's for a number of reasons such as self-blame or a lack of confidence in the police.Victims have got to have the confidence to come forward and I really hope Louise's story helps them to do this."

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