Despite a greater number of sexual assault cases hitting the headlines just recently, 1 in 6 sexual assaults still go unreported in Britain today.
It can take years, even decades before people feel courageous enough to speak out about their ordeal; and that’s even if they decide to speak out at all.
Silent victims often feel that:
- No one will believe them
- They will somehow be blamed for what happened
- Because they were drunk at the time the offender will get away with it
- Perhaps they ‘asked for it’ because of the way they were dressed?
- Rape is something that only affects women
- If they forget about it – the memories and pain will go away
- Fearful of potential repercussions from the perpetrator
These are just some of the reasons that sexual offences are not reported; and they are also some of the same reasons why sexual offenders remain free to roam the streets and are able to re-offend.
The recent two cases of a serial male sex offender in Manchester and a female sex offender in Winchester show just how cunning perpetrators can be when they decide to pray on vulnerable people; and then continue to re-offend, undetected, for years.
These two prosecutions show just how far the criminal justice system has come in its approach to investigating and prosecuting offenders, as well as supporting those that have been affected.
The process for prosecuting these criminals can be complex, and includes a variety of agencies including the Police, the CPS and the criminal courts as well as sexual health services, dedicated charities and specialist support groups.
However, rape victims who do come forward often report that the empathy, care and support offered by these highly experienced, knowledgeable teams is extremely precious to them during the whole process.
Victoria Price, abuse specialist at Price Slater Gawne, explains:
“The journey before and after disclosure is difficult and painful. Despite how difficult it may seem to contemplate, victims of sexual assault need to be able to confide in their family and friends just as much as the police and support groups. Because sadly, their journey doesn’t end with a prosecution, but continues on – in different guises – for the many men and women who have been involved.
“This is why the support of friends and family is so invaluable – because these relationships continue long after the criminal process has finished. Charities and support groups are crucial too. They are experienced specialists who can support, understand and signpost, and sometimes give advice based on their own similar experiences.”
Over the years, the team at Price Slater Gawne has represented and supported many men and women who have been sexually assaulted.
A Government funded scheme that provides financial awards for people who have been assaulted and abused is also available. This money is provided by the Criminal Injuries Compensation scheme (CICA). and compensation can be claimed for either physical or psychological injuries, whether they occurred in a public place, at work or at home.
Victoria Price continued “Although money may not seem to be the answer at the time, it certainly comes in handy when looking to fund private treatment or counselling, a new project, education fees or help with relocation or property. There are strict criteria to be met in respect of eligibility and there is a strict time deadline; but our job is to navigate our Clients through the process in the hope that something positive might come out of what happened to them.”
So if you, or someone you know, finds themselves in need of advice relating to an incident involving sexual assault, make an enquiry in confidence on 0161 615 5554, via live chat on our website or email one of our specialist solicitors on firstname.lastname@example.org.