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Sexual Abuse
Sexual Abuse and Sexual Violence Awareness Week 2024

It’s estimated that 1 in 4 women and 1 in 6 men have been sexually raped or abused, which equates to 14.9m people in England and Wales.

According to the 2021 census, in Warwickshire this means there are an estimated 126,988 victim/survivors across the county. In addition, 1 in 6 children have been sexually abused.  Sexual violence has many variations that affect women, men, members of the LGBT+ communities and children. Sexual abuse/violence can affect everyone.

To mark Sexual Abuse and Sexual Violence Awareness Week (5th -11th February 2024), Warwickshire County Council and partners including Warwickshire Police and specialist sexual violence support agency, Safeline, are highlighting the support services available to anyone impacted by sexual violence in Warwickshire.  

Sexual Violence is wide ranging and can include:  

  • Pressuring or forcing someone to do something sexual 
  • Touching someone sexually without their permission 
  • Unwanted sexting – sending sexually explicit texts and images to someone without their consent 
  • Unwanted sexual attention – for example ‘wolf-whistling’ and making sexualised comments about a person’s body 
  • Watching a sexual act take place without permission 
  • Engaging in sexual acts with someone who is too drunk, or too intoxicated, to give consent 
  • Engaging in a sexual act with someone who is asleep or unconscious 
  • Having sex with someone who cannot legally consent – for example, under the age of 16, or someone with a disability who does not have the capacity to understand the situation 
  • Making someone watch or appear in pornography against their will 
  • Preventing someone from using contraception 

Cllr Andy Crump, Portfolio Holder for Community Safety at Warwickshire County Council said: “We want to reiterate the message that support is available to anyone who is affected/ impacted by sexual violence.  Warwickshire’s victim support services work closely together to ensure that people impacted by sexual violence get all the support they need to help them cope and recover. I would reiterate the phrase we use when talking about abuse, You Are Not Alone. Please do reach out, there is professional and specialist support available to you.”

Victim-survivors of sexual violence may be frightened to come forward to seek help, however, the specialist services available across the county are here to help you and provide you with the support you need to cope and recover.  One of these services is Safeline, a specialist sexual abuse support agency. Supporting over 125,000 people, Safeline was set up 30-years ago to provide independent, specialist support to victims/survivors of sexual abuse.  

Safeline supports anyone impacted by sexual abuse aged-3-years+ including victims/survivors and those supporting them. They have a comprehensive range of evidenced-based interventions, ‘under-one-roof’ to cater for all needs of victims/survivors; their services are independent, integrated, tailored, timely, confidential, long-term, and free.

Services include Trauma-informed counselling, psychotherapy, and creative therapies, delivered face-to-face, by telephone and online. Prevention and Early Intervention services (PEI) for vulnerable children/young people, aged 9-18; Independent Sexual Violence Advocacy (ISVA), a Children’s ISVA service and a Warwickshire Survivors’ helpline.

Safeline’s services are independently accredited against three nationally recognised best-practice quality standards, so victims/survivors can have confidence in the quality of support they are accessing. To access Safeline go to or call 01926 402 498.  

Neil Henderson, Chief Executive at Safeline said: "Safeline provides something every victim/survivor needs and is scared they will not get, to be believed. We help save lives, by allowing people impacted by sexual abuse, to regain control of their trauma and to live in the present moment, outside of their abuse."

In addition, there is specialist medical and forensic support from trained professionals. This provision is offered by a Sexual Assault Referral Centre (SARC). One of these SARCs is the Blue-Sky Centre based in George Elliott Hospital, Nuneaton.  

The specialist trained team at the Blue-Sky Centre will take your initial call. If you have undergone assault and or abuse, you will need to contact the SARC within the first 7 days. If you are unsure of the dates, then please contact the SARC who will be able to advise you.

A crisis worker will then listen to you and go through your options, you may decide you want to undergo a forensic medical examination. The examination will be undertaken by a Forensic Medical Nurse who will examine you and take some samples (swab/blood tests). The team will work at a pace that is comfortable to you. The team will also provide practical and emotional support and can refer you to a counsellor.  

The Blue-Sky Centre can be contacted on 0800 970 0370. All calls are confidential. To find out more go to  

Help and advice is still available if you don’t want to undergo an examination or visit the SARC. The Integrated Sexual Health Services can offer medication to prevent the HIV virus and can test and treat Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs). For more information go to or call 0300 020 0027.

Detective Superintendent Pete Hill (Public Protection) said: “We are committed to combatting sexual violence and abuse in all of its forms. We commend the work done by other organisations to help support the survivors, and to create an environment where anyone can feel safe and supported enough to come forward and help us arrest and prosecute the perpetrators.”

For young people, the West Midlands Regional Children and Young People Sexual Assault Service can provide reassurance to children from birth to 17 years old and 18 to 25-year-olds who present with complex needs. To access the West Midlands Regional CYPSAS please call 0808 196 2340 or go to  

Any young person over the age of 13 can make an appointment with the service, under 13, there will need to be a referral from a social care professional or the Police.  

Help and support will be available to any child or young person. A crisis worker along with a doctor and nurse will talk you through the process, which once consented, will include an examination. During the examination you can stop at any point and the team will go at your pace throughout.  

At all stages, you can either have a trusted family member or friend with you or not. Once the examination is completed, the crisis worker will discuss further appointments and tell you more about the ongoing help available to you.  There is an opportunity to ask as many questions as you like to the crisis worker.  

The service will provide you with all the information you need and will offer a check in call in three weeks’ time.   

Alongside Sexual Abuse and Sexual Violence Awareness Week, we are also highlighting the International Day of Zero Tolerance for Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) (6th February 2024). One of the more profound areas of sexual abuse, it is estimated that just over 60,000* women and girls in the UK are mutilated by a perpetrator as a result of FGM.  

Many young girls will often experience intense pain for months after the procedure and ultimately, they will live with long suffering injuries well into their adult life. Regarded as a rite to passage by perpetrators, who may include family members and friends, it’s important to spot the signs of a young girl/woman being prepared for FGM. This can include:  

  • noticing a young girl in pain when walking or playing with friends. 
  • hearing about arrangements to take young girls on trips abroad for several weeks. 
  • witnessing large gatherings at a house in the guise of a birthday or celebration. 

Anyone who is aware of a FGM should report anything suspicious to the Police by calling 101.  

For anyone affected by FGM or any other form of harmful practice or abuse please visit,uk  

For further information about FGM and potential warning signs please go to  

Published: 5th February 2024

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