Five videos are being launched by Suffolk and Norfolk Constabularies in a bid to tackle and raise awareness of the issues around consent in relation to serious sexual offences.
View the films as they are released each week on our Instagram stories, here.
Both nationally and locally, forces have seen an increase in serious and complex crimes, including rape and sexual offences. The latest figures published by the Office of National Statistics show there was an increase in sexual offences in Suffolk of 26.6% (Figures cover 1 April 2017 to 31 March 2018).
The videos, which are all less than 60 seconds long, are to be released on the forces’ Instagram accounts as ‘stories’ over five weeks to coincide with Sexual Abuse and Sexual Violence Awareness Week, which runs from Monday 4 until Sunday 10 February 2019.
As part of the campaign, extensive and thorough research was carried out including focus groups with the target audience of 13 to 25-year-olds. These involved them completing a questionnaire about what they think consent is. Once the films had been completed the focus groups were then asked to view the videos before answering more questions and having discussions about consent. Additionally, sexual assault victims and staff who work within the Sexual Assault Referral Centres (SARCs) were consulted with as well as charity Rape Crisis to ensure content is accurate and appropriate.
The videos, which have been produced and filmed by local company Eye Film, all aim to address the issues around consent by raising awareness and to educate members of the public about seeking consent.
Each video uses an example of a routine scenario and a different relationship. These are:
- In a supermarket with a male and female who are strangers
- In a community football club with two male friends
- In a flat with a teenage male and female couple
- In a nightclub with two female friends
- In a bedroom with a female and male couple
Head of Crime and Safeguarding in Suffolk, Detective Chief Superintendent Eamonn Bridger, welcomed the campaign saying: “There is often confusion about what is meant by consent and we hope, by showing a range of everyday situations where people clearly have not consented to what has happened to them, that these thought-provoking films will encourage discussion and lead to a wider understanding about what consent means in a sexual context.
“When developing the campaign we decided to have 30-second videos with the duration representing how quickly someone’s decisions can turn sinister.
“We understand that people might find these videos quite shocking, but it’s important we raise awareness of consent, what it means and the consequences for offenders who do not seek consent.”
Suffolk Police and Crime Commissioner Tim Passmore said, “I congratulate the Constabulary on this thought-provoking campaign. The message running through these videos is extremely important and I hope young people take note. It is crucially important that everyone understands exactly what consent is.”
He added, “The videos are quite disturbing but I believe this is absolutely necessary to get the message through to the target audience that #ItsNotOk.”
During the five-week campaign, the videos, which include myth-busting films as well as interviews with a victim and an ISVA, will be posted on Instagram (suffolkpolice) as well as Facebook (Suffolk Constabulary), Twitter (@SuffolkPolice) and the force’s website signposting people who would like help and support to the SARCs. Each post will use the hashtag #ThisIsNotConsent.
During the awareness week, messages encouraging victims to come forward will be shared on Suffolk Police’s social media accounts using the hashtag, #ItsNotOk.
The SARC, called The Ferns, is jointly funded by Suffolk Constabulary and NHS England and has supported more than 2450 victims since it opened in 2011.
The centre provides ongoing specialist tailored support to victims through Crisis Workers and Independent Sexual Violence Advisers (ISVAs). This includes medical examinations following a recent rape or sexual assault, which can be done without any police involvement. If, at any time, a victim decides to talk to police, this can be arranged. The Ferns also supports those who have suffered abuse in the past as well as providing impartial information to victims concerning their options, accessing health services such as sexual health screening and specialist support including counselling. ISVAs also provide information on other services the person may require including health and social care, housing, or benefits.
Anyone who would like to speak to someone in confidence about sexual abuse or violence can contact Suffolk Police on 101, or staff at The Ferns on 0300 1235058 or via email firstname.lastname@example.org
For further information, support and advice,
www.survivorsintransition.co.uk Survivors in Transition - Specialist support in Suffolk for female and male survivors of childhood sexual abuse, violence and exploitation
www.fsnb.org.uk Fresh Start – New beginnings, provides a therapeutic service for children and young people up to 21 years who have reported being sexually abused and to offer support for their families.
www.suffolkrapecrisis.org.uk Suffolk Rape Crisis – Support service open to anybody aged 14 or above who needs support following a rape or sexual assault