31 May, 2018

Julia Mulligan supports campaign to #PreventSexualHarm

"Everyone can make a difference in the fight against sexual abuse and exploitation." That's the message from sexual abuse prevention charity re:shape, who - in partnership with NSPCC, Crimestoppers, Survive, the National Organisation for Treatment of Sexual Abusers and the National Council for Voluntary Organisations - has launched the Prevent Sexual Harm: A Community Response campaign.

The campaign launched with an online push to encourage people from all walks of life to pledge to #PreventSexualHarm.

Re:shape, which was established in York in 2009 as YorkshireHumberside and Lincolnshire Circles, has over 240 volunteers and advocates a community response to preventing sexual harm of all kinds. Its partners all have a connected interest in preventing sexual harm and were invited to jointly launch the campaign to enable wider audience involvement.

CEO Tammy Banks explains: “The #PreventSexualHarm campaign challenges common misconceptions around the perpetrators of sexual harassment and abuse, and encourages people and organisations at every level to pledge to take action to #PreventSexualHarm. Everyone who pledges or visits the campaign website can access resources to help them recognise the signs of sexual harm and take steps to address it and protect those around them.”

The campaign is based around re:shape’s four key principles of awareness, recognition, rehabilitation and zero tolerance, and has the backing of police and crime commissioners, religious organisations, charities and the business community.

Julia Mulligan, Police and Crime Commissioner for North Yorkshire, says: “For too long, it’s been taboo to talk about sexual harm. #MeToo went a long way to changing all that, and it’s now clear that very many people from all walks of life have suffered and continue to suffer. This campaign aims to get people talking about sexual harm – what to look out for, how to stop it and importantly, how it can be prevented. By knowing the signs, educating and listening to people, as well as a zero tolerance to perpetrators, we can reduce the pain caused by sexual abuse.”

Jon Brown, lead expert on child sexual abuse from the NSPCC says: “We know that abuse thrives on silence, which is why it’s crucial that everyone speaks out if they are worried about a child at risk of sexual harm. Recognising the signs, speaking out about our concerns, and working to prevent reoffending will help us all to break the silence around abuse in our communities.”

Gemma Gibbs, Crimestoppers Regional Manager says: “We’re supporting the new campaign to help prevent sexual harm, it is so important to minimise the number of victims of sexual offences. We want to help ensure that everyone has the opportunity to help report knowledge of sexual harm.”

Sir Stuart Etherington, chief executive of National Council for Voluntary Organisations (NCVO) says: “This important campaign sends a clear message that preventing sexual harm is something we all need to commit to. As we have seen, charities are far from immune to this type of abuse and the response requires each and every one of us to recognise and address sexual harm where ever it occurs.”

Professor Simon Hackett, Chair of the National Organisation for Treatment of Sexual Abusers (NOTA) says: “Stopping the harm created by sexual violence is everyone’s business. We need people across our communities to join us in our support of this very important campaign.”

Tammy Banks adds: “We all need to act to change the landscape of sexual abuse, and we all have the power to make a difference. A huge part of this is understanding what everyone in the community can do to help prevent sexual harm before it takes place. We know that so many people want to take action, but don’t know what they can do.

“This campaign is about giving people information and practical steps they can take to help bring about real and lasting change. There’s a lot of work to be done, but it’s about the small things people can do every day that will have a big impact on changing cultures by recognising the signs and taking action that will help prevent sexual harm.

“For too long as a society we have been dealing with sexual abuse by doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result. This campaign aims to break the cycle, and do something that will help bring about a change of culture and put a stop to sexual abuse.”

Find out more about the #PreventSexualHarm campaign and download resources to help you take positive action in your community.