Women respond in their hundreds to sexual violence survey

Herts Police have appealed for information following the rape in Radlett

Suffolk police asked women to share their experiences, in confidence, to help inform and improve services - Credit: Archant

An online survey designed to help police better understand women's and girls’ experiences of sexual violence received more than 600 responses within 18 days of its launch.

Suffolk Constabulary launched the online survey as part of work to identify ways of improving its service by listening to the needs of women and girls.

The Violence against Women and Girls (VAWG) survey attracted more than 600 responses between its launch on May 19 and its closure last Sunday.

The force said it planned to publish a summary of the findings and would be seeking to make recommendations in due course.

Latest figures showed Suffolk police recorded 1,749 serious sexual offences in the 12 months to the end of March.

While just 106 crimes were solved, almost half (49.3%) of victims did not support a police investigation.

Last week, Suffolk's police and crime commissioner, Tim Passmore, announced grants of more than £555,000 for this financial year to support victims of sexual violence and domestic abuse across the county.

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On the day the survey launched, via the constabulary's website and social media pages, Mr Passmore said the force would look to improve its response for women and girls by understanding more about the scale and nature of sexual crimes taking place, especially behind closed doors.

Meanwhile, Chief Superintendent Marina Ericson said the fact that many offences took place hidden from public view made it difficult to appreciate the magnitude of the issue.

Temporary Chief Superintendent Marina Ericson, County Policing Commander, has warned those planning

Chief Superintendent Marina Ericson - Credit: Archant

The public survey, open to women aged over 18 in Suffolk, was confidential and anonymous, and designed to help improve understanding of different kinds of sexual violence, whether reported to the police or not. 

It was envisaged that the survey findings would also assist crime prevention work to keep women and girls in Suffolk safer.

A police spokeswoman said: “Suffolk Constabulary has had more than 600 responses from across the county to the Violence against Women and Girls (VAWG) survey and we are now analysing the responses to identify any trends or conclusions. 

"We will look to publish a summary externally in due course and will be seeking to make recommendations to improve women’s experiences and safety."

Anyone who would like to speak to someone in confidence about sexual abuse or violence can contact Suffolk police on 101, or staff at The Ferns on 0300 1235058 or via email contact@theferns-suffolk.org.uk.

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