Police back bid to reduce risk of rape among teens

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SPECIALISTS who help rape victims have given their backing to a campaign which aims to reduce the risk to teenagers.

Durham Constabulary is backing the prevention campaign being run by the Home Office.

A previous awareness drive ran in March and April and targeted 13- to 18-year-old boys and girls and followed on from a linked campaign – the Government’s Teenage Relationship Abuse Campaign – which ran from September to December last year.

Police, County Durham and Darlington NHS and Durham County Council are among the organisations working together as part of the Safe Durham Partnership and Safer Darlington Partnership to promote the scheme.

It aims to stop teenagers from becoming victims or perpetrators of rape, sexual assault, violence or abuse and encourage young people to re-think their views of these issues with a website, www.direct.gov.uk/thisisabuse.

Helen Murphy, from the police’s safeguarding unit, said: “Sexual violence and abuse can be a very difficult topic to discuss. Young people can be confident we will thoroughly investigate any allegations of abuse within a relationship and we will do all we can to bring perpetrators to justice.”

Trained staff are in place, including a child independent sexual violence advocate, who specialises in working with those who have reported sexual violence or abuse.

The Meadows Sexual Assault Referral Centre provides service in County Durham and Darlington who have been raped or sexually assaulted.

The free services are available to both females and males, with more information available via www.themeadowsdurham.org.uk.