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#ITSNOTOK – Sexual Abuse & Sexual Violence Awareness Week 2024

Commissioner's Office shares information about the services available in North Yorkshire and York for anyone who suffers from sexual abuse and violence.

For Sexual Abuse and Sexual Violence Awareness Week this year, Commissioner Zoë highlights some of the services she commissions to support any individuals of sexual abuse and violence in North Yorkshire and York.#ITSNOTOK 

Independent Sexual Violence Advisor Service

Find out how the Independent Sexual Violence Advisor (ISVA) service, provided by IDAS – (Independent Domestic Abuse Services) supports women and girls in North Yorkshire & York.

IDAS Safe lives, free from abuse and violence

IDAS is the largest specialist charity in the North supporting people affected by domestic abuse and sexual violence.

Sexual Assault Referral Centre

Sexual Assault Referral Centre – We listen. We hear.

Free support and practical help is available to anyone in North Yorkshire who has ​experienced sexual violence and/or sexual abuse.

We are here to help regardless of when the abuse happened. You will need an appointment before coming to the Centre. To book your appointment please:

Our team can normally arrange for you to visit within 24-48 hours, so you won’t have to wait long.

Our team can normally arrange for you to visit within 24-48 hours, so you won’t have to wait long.

Supporting Victims

If you have been a victim of crime and need help to cope and recover, contact:

Survive – Rebuilding lives after sexual violence

Survive will listen to you.

It’s tough to talk about sexual trauma.

As a survivor, you can start your journey now to manage your trauma.

Survive offers you appointments either face to face, online or on the telephone.

Women’s Centre

The Women’s Centre supports all women in a safe, woman only environment.

Further information can be found on our Women’s Centre page

If you have been a victim of crime and need help to cope and recover, contact:

Supporting Victims

What is an Exploitation Risk Assessment Conference?

Did you know that in North Yorkshire we have an Exploitation Risk Assessment Conference (ERAC)?

ERAC is a multi-agency approach to address the needs of women who may be victims of, or at risk of becoming victims of exploitation, including sexual exploitation. This may include ‘survival sex’ such as ‘sex for rent’ or sex in exchange for drugs/alcohol.

If you have concerns about a woman who may be at risk of sexual exploitation please contact womens.wellness@changing-lives.org.uk.

Signs to look out for:

  • Physical signs of abuse
  • Multiple Phones
  • New clothes etc, which are unexplained
  • Using multiple names or nicknames
  • Criminal Activity
  • Referencing a ‘cousin’ or ‘uncle’ that they’re staying with
  • Large amounts of money being transferred or not having control over finances / no bank card
  • Not turning up to appointments or asking someone to come with them
  • Turing up in different cars

If you are a woman experiencing sexual exploitation then you can receive confidential, non-judgemental support in a women-only environment at the Women’s Wellness Centre. Please contact womens.wellness@changing-lives.org.uk.

Further information can be found on our Women’s Centre page

All About Respect Project Funding

An educational package designed to raise awareness of gender-based violence amongst young people.

The educational package will raise awareness of problematic behaviours and will deliver Bystander Training.

This initiative will also seek to gather the views of young people on Violence Against Women and Girls, who will be encouraged to participate via creative forms of engagement such as dancefloor events.


6 February 2024  Internet Safety Day – Online Harms & Tech Abuse

Changing Lives have received Home Office funding to provide Netreach support to anyone aged 16 and over in York & North Yorkshire.

Netreach supports people who are targeted for online sexual abuse, exploitation, tech abuse and grooming online.

Online harm is behaviour online that may hurt a person physically or emotionally. It could be harmful information that is posted online, or information sent direct to a person. Online harm can be defined as witnessing harmful content online or experiencing harms such as intimate image abuse (also known as ‘Revenge Porn’), cyberstalking, cyberbullying and exploitation facilitated through technology or online.

Examples of Online Harm & Tech Abuse

  • Intimate image abuse (Non-consensual intimate image or video sharing, and threats to share intimate images or videos)
  • Someone using social media to monitor/stalk another person
  • Sextortion – a form of blackmail in which a someone is tricked into sending sexual images of themselves to someone who then threatens to share the pictures with friends, family or more widely on the internet if they are not paid money
  • Online accounts being hacked or controlled
  • Online impersonation
  • Financial, sexual, emotional and criminal exploitation
  • Romance fraud
  • Deepfaking
  • Cyberbullying/harassment
  • Radicalisation
  • Grooming through online gaming platforms
  • Being exposed to harmful content (violent and/or sexual imagery)
  • Doxxing

The Impacts of Online Harms & Tech Abuse

  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Eating disorders
  • Low self-esteem
  • Post-traumatic stress
  • Difficulty in coping with stress
  • Self-harm
  • Suicidal tendencies or thoughts
  • Feelings of shame and guilt
  • Relationship problems with family and friends
  • Drug and alcohol problems

What is online sexual exploitation?

Online sexual exploitation includes a wide range of behaviours and situations. Most commonly this includes grooming, live streaming, consuming child sexual abuse material, and coercing and blackmailing individuals for sexual purposes.

When someone is sexually exploited online, they may be persuaded or forced to create sexually explicit photos or videos or have sexual conversations e.g., sexting.

Online sexual exploitation is often thought of as adults targeting children, however, research indicates that more and more exploitation material is being shared via social media and is often occurring between individuals of similar ages.

Changing Lives offer free, non-judgemental support to anyone who is 16+ who is worried about or has experienced online exploitation, tech abuse, online harms or grooming online.

This can include one-off advice and guidance or ongoing 1-1 support including:

  • Specialist online safety advice and guidance
  • Harm minimisation advice and safety planning
  • Support with the removal of images/videos/harmful content
  • Emotional support
  • Sexual health resources and screening
  • Support to report
  • Help to remove spyware from devices
  • Local referral pathways (such as mental health, support groups and recovery services)
  • Therapeutic interventions and trauma work
  • Specialist support groups and drop-ins

You can get in touch by texting/calling 07719547752 or emailing net.reach5@changing-lives.org.uk

Sexual Abuse and Sexual Violence Awareness Week 2024: Commissioner Zoë and her team showcase support services in North Yorkshire and York.

Sat around a table, Simon Dennis, Zoe Metcalfe and Jenni Newberry review the VAWG Strategy.

05 February 2024

Commissioner Zoë Metcalfe and her team at the Office of the Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner are supporting National Sexual Abuse and Sexual Violence Awareness Week by highlighting services and information available for anyone across the county on the topic.

Sexual Abuse & Sexual Violence Awareness Week is the UK’s national week to raise awareness of sexual abuse and violence and to provide an opportunity for any organisation or individual to engage in dialogue across the first full week of February.

The main goal is to raise awareness with organisations across the UK promoting healthy discussions around the subject and shining a spotlight on what resources and services are accessible to people within their communities.

By supporting this awareness week, Commissioner Zoë and her office have put together a specific webpage with a selection of resourceful information around the commissioned services, funded projects, and multiagency work they are apart of around helping  – all of which aligns with the priorities outlined in her own partnership VAWG strategy published in July 2022.

Commissioner Zoë said:

“I am proud we are fully supporting and continuing to raise awareness about the issues of sexual abuse and sexual violence, highlighting to the public the wealth of services that I commission to support residents of York and North Yorkshire.

“We are working hard in York and North Yorkshire to ensure that victims of sexual abuse and sexual violence feel that they are heard, believed and receive an appropriate trauma-aware response.

“Throughout the course of this week, my office will be showcasing the work that is ongoing in York and North Yorkshire to enhance support for victims and survivors, giving examples of some of the initiatives that have been developed to help people Be Safe and Feel Safe.”

To find out more about this awareness week please visit: #ITSNOTOK – Sexual Abuse & Sexual Violence Awareness Week 2024 – Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner North Yorkshire (northyorkshire-pfcc.gov.uk)