Commencing on 6 September 2021, the ‘Your Choice’ campaign was designed by Cumbria Constabulary with the support of the University of Cumbria and their Student Union. It will run throughout September and beyond.
The campaign will start with a focus on consent. This will include challenging misconceptions and myths on sexual consent by providing the clear legal definition and how consent must be given freely and fully. Content on consent myth-busting will also be covered. During launch week, Cumbria Constabulary will also adopt a campaign by the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS), which highlights the power of Victim Impact Statements in sentencing hearings.
During the second week, the attention of the campaign will turn to highlighting the various support services available in Cumbria. Utilising the Constabulary’s numerous communication channels along with the support of partner agencies, the campaign will signpost members of the public to the work of support services and provided information on how they help victims.
The third week will involve a takeover on the Constabulary’s social media channels by the University of Cumbria’s Students’ Union. The content, which has been created by young adults at the SU, will be focused on consent and relationship respect and aimed at young adults.
Throughout the campaign, the public will be encouraged to post questions on “question prompt” posts or direct message the Constabulary through social media with any RASSO questions. Those questions will then be answered by practitioners from relevant partner agencies. The question will then be anonymised and responded to on social media and/or direct messaged to the author. Any disclosures made online will be escalated through the appropriate channels.
Aims and objectives
The focus of the campaign is to educate young adults (18–25-year-olds) about Rape and Serious Sexual Offences (RASSO); arming them with the knowledge of how to access confidential support services and empowering them to come forward should they find themselves the victim of a rape or sexual assault.
The campaign will highlight the dedicated services for RASSO victims provided by local support services across Cumbria. It will also explain the roles of the police and Crown Prosecution Services once a report of rape or sexual assault is made, and how the support needs of the victim are prioritised in tandem with a thorough investigative approach and the judicial process.
Research and insight
Being victim to rape or any sexual offence is a truly traumatic experience which can have far-reaching and long-lasting impact on an individual. Research suggests that offences against the age group of 18-25-year-olds are under reported.
With the common misconceptions of what consent is, the Constabulary has received feedback from young adults that young adult victims may not understand what has happened to them or know who to contact for help. The campaign will also provide victims with clear information on consent and encourage reporting.
The Constabulary recognises that not all people will feel comfortable in reporting what has happened to them to the police, therefore the focus of the campaign is to educate young adults about local support services and how they can access them regardless of whether they choose to report.
The highlighted support services can be accessed 24/7 regardless of whether a crime has just been committed or is historic. They can also all be accessed independently, regardless of whether a crime has been reported to the police or not.
For free, confidential information, advice and support call:
- Victim Support 24/7 on 0300 303 0157 or LiveChat
- The Bridgeway on 0800 118 6432 or via their website as a self-referral
- To report a crime, contact Cumbria police on 101. Always dial 999 in an emergency.
More on the ‘Your Choice’ campaign
To keep up to date with the campaign’s information, please follow:
- Facebook /cumbriapolice
- Twitter @cumbriapolice
- Instagram @cumbriacops
- You can also follow the #CPYourChoices
You can find the Campaign launch press release here: Police launch Rape and Serious Sexual Offences awareness campaign. (cumbria.police.uk)
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This website was developed in collaboration with North West Police Crime Commissioners, NHS England, and Sexual Assault & Abuse Services.
The North West SAAS Partner Network (Strategic Direction for Sexual Assault and Abuse Services) is led by NHS England and covers Cheshire, Merseyside, Cumbria, Greater Manchester and Lancashire.