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Police to tackle rape crimes

PUBLISHED: 10:21 30 November 2009 | UPDATED: 15:47 03 July 2010

A hard-hitting campaign against rape is being launched today by Norfolk police.

Women are being reminded of the dangers and men warned of the consequences in a series of radio and poster adverts.

A hard-hitting campaign against rape is being launched today by Norfolk police.

Women are being reminded of the dangers and men warned of the consequences in a series of radio and poster adverts. The campaign links with the national rape awareness campaign, which runs this week, but the Norfolk campaign lasts for a month to cover the festive season when women may be at greater risk.

Police are also keen to encourage women to come forward and report it if they are raped, because around 40pc of rapes are never reported.

Det Supt Chris Hobley, head of the Norfolk police's vulnerable persons directorate, said he did not want to stop people enjoying themselves at parties and on nights out, but wanted women to be careful. He said: “During the festive season there is a potential for people to get into situations they never intended to and suddenly become very vulnerable.

“No consent means rape. That is the message. The woman has the right to say no.”

Posters are being put up on First buses and displayed in pubs and clubs. Two of the posters feature photographs of a woman, one with the words “I said yes to a drink, not to sex,” and the other with the words “Let your hair down, not your guard.” A third advert features the image of a man in a police cell and the words “Rape: short word - long sentence.”

There are also radio adverts on local Heart and Kiss radio stations, featuring a man and a woman talking about a night out that starts with a drink together and leads on to sex, even though the woman says no. The final words are: “No consent means rape.”

There were 154 recorded cases of rape in Norfolk in the 12 months up to September, compared with 142 cases in the previous 12 months. There were 49 prosecutions in the year to September and around 35 convictions.

A dedicated team of detectives was formed this summer to investigate rape cases. Det Supt Hobley said that victims will be supported by specially trained officers both in the immediate aftermath and when the case is going through the courts. He added: “It is desperately important that the victim feels able to come forward.

“We want more people to report rape at as early a stage as possible, to give our officers the best possible chance to ensure the offender is put before the courts. However, we do recognise that coming forward can be a difficult step and we will investigate cases that are reported to us, whatever the timeframe.

“As soon as a rape is reported to us it is taken very seriously, whatever the circumstances may be, including if it has taken place within a relationship.

“There are victims out there who need help and if they come forward they can be reassured that we will do everything we can to support them.”

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