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PCC urges victims of sexual abuse not to suffer in silence

POLICE and Crime Commissioner Darryl Preston has reached out to victims of sexual violence to remind them they are not alone as a national campaign gets underway.

The Commissioner funds a wealth of services to support the recovery of those who have been subjected to sexual abuse or sexual violence and is today (6 February) marking Sexual Violence Week to reassure victims that help is available.

The annual campaign runs from February 6th to 12th and aims to raise awareness of sexual abuse and sexual violence while also promoting the opportunity for organisations and individuals to use their voice to initiate discussion.

During the week, hundreds of events are held across the country under the ‘#It’s not OK’ campaign to shine a light on what is usually a hidden subject.

Darryl said: “Victims of sexual abuse and sexual violence deserve the best help possible. In Cambridgeshire and Peterborough, there are compassionate and experienced support workers who understand what they have gone through and will be by their side – every step of the way – on their journey to recovery.

“As a former police officer who has investigated many of these horrific crimes, I am very passionate about putting the needs of victims first and providing trauma-informed support in a way that best supports them in the long-term.

“As we mark Sexual Abuse and Sexual Violence Week, I want every victim of sexual abuse or sexual violence to know that we care deeply about what they have gone through and will do everything possible to help them move on – please don’t suffer alone.”

Supporting Victims and Witnesses is a key priority in the PCC’s Police and Crime Plan and Darryl commissions a range of cope and recovery support services to deliver help in the way victims and survivors want.

Two organisations commissioned by the PCC to deliver that support are Cambridge and Peterborough Rape Crisis Partnership (CAPRCP) and CHOICES.

CAPRCP comprises two independent specialist sexual violence services providing dedicated support to survivors of rape and any form of sexual abuse across Cambridgeshire.

The service has been commissioned by the PCC to deliver a countywide service up to March 2025 and in the first quarter of 2022, CAPRCP received no fewer than 281 new referrals, supported 800 survivors and delivered 7,000 sessions.

Norah Al-Ani, Director of Cambridge Rape Crisis Centre, said: “During this year’s Sexual Abuse and Sexual Violence Awareness Week we want to take this opportunity to raise awareness about the Cambridge and Peterborough Rape Crisis Partnership. We are committed to supporting survivors of sexual violence and abuse and offer free and confidential services to survivors who are dealing with the effects of sexual violence, and to anyone who is supporting them.

“We listen, and we believe and we are here for you. All survivors are deserving of support. If you have been affected by sexual violence and abuse you can reach out to CAPRCP through our partnership website – – where you will see all of our support services and contact details.”

CHOICES is a well-established charity operating throughout Cambridgeshire and Peterborough. It is unique in offering long-term trauma informed individual counselling to adults whose lives have been impacted by historic childhood sexual abuse.

Through the Commissioner’s funding, the charity has been able to design and deliver a short-term practical and psychoeducational package to help those people waiting for long-term, weekly counselling sessions.

Victoria Stevenson, Head of Services at CHOICES, believes that without these as a complimentary support option, many clients would struggle to cope whilst waiting for the long-term counselling to begin.

“I am in no doubt that these sessions are proving priceless for many. We have been supporting adult survivors of childhood sexual abuse for the last 36 years and have a number of support options available to survivors. We can be reached through our website or call our confidential answerphone on 01223 358149.

“Survivors do not have to struggle alone.”