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North West Sexual Violence Awareness Week

Knowsley Council lights Greystone Footbridge in support

by Alison Cornmell

On Thursday 11 November, from 4.30-6pm, the Greystone Footbridge will be illuminated purple in support of North West Sexual Violence Awareness Week.

This week, organisations across the North West are coming together to raise awareness of sexual violence and the support services available to survivors.

The initiative, led by North West Police and Crime Commissioners, police authorities, and sexual assault and abuse services, will take place this week until Sunday 14 November 2021.

Each day throughout the week a county will be hosting their own dedicated event/activity to raise awareness within their communities – Merseyside’s designated day is Thursday 11 November.

Cllr Shelley Powell, Knowsley Council’s Cabinet Member for Communities and Neighbourhoods said:

“Everyone has a right to feel safe, whether that be at home or out and about in the community. We remain committed to ensuring our communities are safe places and that our residents know that help and support is available if they don’t feel safe.

“Our Domestic Abuse service, working alongside our partners including Merseyside Police, provides specialist advice and support for victims and survivors of domestic abuse and violence. I’d encourage anyone who needs to support, to make contact today.”

Rebecca Williams, project lead and Sexual Violence Communications and Engagement Manager said: “This week we are encouraging people across the North West to talk openly about sexual violence and their experiences, whether that be to a friend, family or one of the specialist organisations.

“Sexual violence can happen to anyone at anytime and anywhere. You are not alone!

“Previously finding a local specialist service may have been difficult or overwhelming due to the vast amount of information online. Working with survivors and local organisations, we have launched a new website sexualviolencesupport.co.uk that will help you find the service that is right for you.

“In addition, we have created ‘support packs’ which provide explanations of what sexual violence is, how you can seek help, how you can support others and a simplified guide on report to court.”

According to the World Health Organisation, one in three women endure physical or sexual violence and one in four adolescent girls ages 15-19 who have had a relationship have been subjected to either physical or sexual violence. But it is not just females who are victims. Approximately 12,000 men (aged 16-59) are raped in the UK every year and more than 70,000 are sexually abused or assaulted.

Police Crime Commissioners, police forces, local authorities, and NHS England all fund sexual violence support services. These services may vary across localities but together they aim to offer the same level of care no matter where a survivor lives.

From specialist forensic and medical sites called Sexual Assault Referral Centres (SARCs) to aftercare provisions like counselling, group therapy and Independent Sexual Violence Advisors (ISVAs), these services aim to work in unison to give every victim of sexual violence the support they need.

If you or someone you know is a victim of sexual violence you can contact the police direct on 101, or in an emergency call 999.

If you do not wish to contact the police, you can self-refer to a specialist organisation directly. To find your local organisation, visit our website https://sexualviolencesupport.co.uk/

DOMESTIC ABUSE SUPPORT

If you are a Knowsley resident and are experiencing domestic abuse or believe someone you know is please contact:

Knowsley Multi-Agency Safeguarding Hub
Tel: 0151 443 2600

Or

Knowsley Early Help Hub

Freephone helpline on 0800 073 0043 and ask for your information to be passed onto the Early Help Hub and one of our staff will call you back. Or you could complete the online form by clicking the ‘ask for help and support’ on this link.

Or
The First Step (Specialist Domestic Abuse Service)

Tel: 0151 548 3333

Website: www.thefirststep.org.uk

The Greystone Footbridge will be illuminated red from 6pm to mark Remembrance Day.