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3 December 2013, 10:29 | Updated: 3 December 2013, 11:27
Dorset police is supporting a nationwide campaign to raise awareness of sexual offences.
The 'In Focus' campaign is being led by the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) and runs over five days from 2 to 6 December 2013.
The campaign focuses on communicating how police deal with rape and sexual offences, the support victims should expect and the realities of the judicial process regarding this type of crime.
Over the last six years significant improvements have been made in the way police deal with sexual offences.
This has included specialist training of officers, the introduction of early evidence kits, greater access to sexual assault referral centres, and increased partnership working with support groups.
The Dorset Sexual Assault Referral Centre (SARC) was opened in 2012 to provide a round the clock crisis service with a broad range of support services to clients.
This immediate confidential, emotional and practical support helps mitigate the physical and psychological impact of rape and sexual assault and reduces the risk of further victimisation.
It also offers an opportunity to be supported by an independent sexual violence adviser, who can provide advocacy or specialist sexual or domestic violence service.
This help and support can be provided in confidence without even involving Dorset Police or being involved in a criminal investigation. Should a client of the SARC request police involvement then a specially trained police officer will be allocated to deal with the incident.
This will be supported by resources that are dedicated to the investigation of serious sexual offences.
Inspector Pete Little said:
"Dorset Police remains committed to the investigation of rape and other serious sexual offences. These offences are always treated as a priority and, by working together with professionals from other sectors, we aim to provide seamless healthcare for victims of sexual crime; integrating social care and criminal justice service."
Full details of the Dorset SARC can be found at: http://www.dorsetforyou.com/arc-dorset
The SARC can be contacted in confidence on 0845 519 8638.