Nuneaton and Bedworth Safer Communities Partnership (NABSCOP) is running an awareness campaign led by the Borough Council and with support from Warwickshire Police and Crime Commissioner Philip Seccombe, to highlight issues of sexual violence and encourage people to understand the nature of sexual consent.
The #NoMeansNo campaign, which is being run in partnership with Warwickshire Police and several charitable organisations, highlights the meaning of consent in relation to rape and demonstrates that there is no place for sexual abuse in society. It makes it clear that consent can never be implied, for example, by the way someone dresses or acts and that ‘no means no’ at any time.
The message is simple, when it comes to consent, it is necessary to be 100 percent sure every time – the consequences of getting this wrong are devastating.
Issues of alcohol and drugs are also addressed; alcohol can increase someone’s vulnerability, but offenders who take advantage of someone’s intoxication are still committing a crime.
A series of eye-catching posters and flyers have been produced with funding from Warwickshire Police and Crime Commissioner Philip Seccombe and social media channels have been engaged to get the #nomeansno message out there. The aim is to spread awareness of the law amongst the public and in particular young adults, preventing people from becoming victims and perpetrators of abusive relationships. It is important that everyone understands the nature of consent and feels empowered to say no if they wish.
“We need to get more people thinking. Consent is very simple – no means no,” said Cllr Gwynne Pomfrett, portfolio holder for Central Services, and Chair of NABSCOP. “There has never been a place for not knowing this – certainly not in modern Britain and in our communities today. We fully support this campaign to spread awareness and educate people about the meaning of consent – there is absolutely no place for ambiguity, presumption or pressure of any kind.”
Warwickshire Police and Crime Commissioner Philip Seccombe, who was present at the campaign launch added: “I’m pleased to be able to provide funding to NABSCOP for the campaign materials and to support its aim of raising awareness about consent. Protecting people from harm is a key part of my Police and Crime Plan and I am always happy to support work in this area.”
Chief Inspector Daf Goddard of Warwickshire Police said: “We are pleased to support the #NoMeansNo campaign, which plays a valuable role in raising public awareness around consent and sexual offences within North Warwickshire. It also supports our aim of making Nuneaton and Bedworth a safer place for residents and visitors.
“Rape and sexual assaults are extremely serious offences and those who commit them could face a life sentence. These offences will not be tolerated on any level within Warwickshire and I’m pleased that our partners, together with local town establishments, are working together to raise awareness and highlight the consequences.
“We will help and support anyone who has been a victim of sexual abuse and would encourage any offence to be reported, regardless of when it took place. Any reports will be thoroughly investigated and victims will be supported by specially trained officers and dedicated independent advisors throughout the process.”
There are a host of support agencies available across Warwickshire for anyone who has been a victim and Chief Inspector Goddard stresses that approaching the police is not a victim’s only option.
Anyone who is a victim of a sexual offence can also contact the Blue Sky Sexual Assault Referral Centre located at George Eliot Hospital in Nuneaton. The centre provides access to emergency medical treatment, emotional support and referrals to Independent Sexual Violence Advisors (ISVA) for anyone from the Coventry or Warwickshire area who has been sexually assaulted. They can be contacted on 02476 865 505 and the website can be found at www.blueskycentre.org.uk.