Police and Crime Commissioner Angus Macpherson has today welcomed the re-launch of First Light, the Sexual Assault Referral Centre (SARC) in Wiltshire and Swindon.
To mark the week-long national campaign which aims to raise awareness of sexual abuse and sexual violence, Angus joined officers and partners at an open-day at the SARC based in Swindon.
Each organisation involved plays a part in offering support to survivors of rape and sexual assault in the county; from reporting and investigating crimes to counselling and continuing support.
Angus said: “I am very proud to be at the re-launch of the First Light Sexual Assault Referral Centre (SARC) and to witness first-hand the superb support the doctors, nurses and crisis workers provide to survivors of rape and sexual abuse.
“This week also sees the start of Sexual Abuse and Sexual Violence Awareness Week. It is therefore the perfect time to raise further awareness of what the SARC has to offer and highlight my strongly-held view that it’s not OK to blame the victim.
“In some quarters of society there is still a perception that because a woman went out late at night wearing a short skirt and got drunk; she is partly to blame if she then got sexually assaulted. It is utterly wrong to hold a woman responsible for the despicable actions of their attacker”.
Michele Challiss, SARC Manager, said: “We are very proud to re-launch the Swindon & Wiltshire Sexual Assault Referral Centre to enable people to understand the pathway into the service.
“We support all victims of sexual violence whether they want police involvement or need time to consider this option and to be seen at the centre without the police as a self-referral.
“We have an amazing team supporting all of our clients and our priority is to ensure the client’s needs are met. We would support them through a forensic medical examination, to make onward referrals to aid their recovery.
“We pride ourselves on always believing our clients and to treat them with the dignity and respect they deserve.”
Throughout the week, the Commissioner and Wiltshire Police will be using social media channels to help raise awareness of the SARC and issues that surround the topic of sexual abuse and sexual violence which can affect men as well as women.
If you are a victim of rape or sexual assault and it has occurred recently, you should call 999 so it can be dealt with as urgently and effectively as possible.
If it hasn’t happened recently, Wiltshire Police would still like to speak to you – please call 101.
If you know someone that has been the victim of rape or sexual assault, you can also report it by calling 101.