Sexual Violence Needs Assessment for Gloucestershire OPCC
Perpetuity has recently completed a sexual violence needs assessment for Gloucestershire OPCC. The area was looking to develop a sexual violence strategy (separate to the domestic violence strategy) to ensure that survivors of sexual violence are receiving the care they need to cope and recover from the impacts of the crimes committed against them.
Perpetuity carried out this assessment by engaging with the local population (including young people), survivors of sexual violence, and stakeholders involved in the delivery of services. Additionally Perpetuity undertook to review and present findings from published national and local work looking at the needs of different demographic groups and local issues impacting on the area.
Amongst other focuses, Gloucestershire was interested in what the local public’s understanding of sexual violence was, and beliefs around sexual violence ‘myths’ – or common false beliefs held by people about sexual assault. This interest came from an intention to develop communication work around promoting a better understanding of the nature of sexual violence.
Some good examples of these findings, which demonstrate the myths we hold around sexual violence are highlighted in the following findings from the project:
- Only 45% of the people we asked identified that a 17 year old sending a sexually intimate photo of themselves to someone via their phone involved offending. In fact, this involves three offences – the young person for making and possessing the image, a further offence of distributing the image, and the recipient would also be liable for possessing the image.
- 5% of people believed that if someone didn’t want to have sex it was their responsibility to say no and stop the sexual contact – this is incorrect – a partner must ensure they get enthusiastic and freely given consent for sexual contact from their partner.
- Almost 12% of the people we asked believed that it is very common for someone to make a false allegation of rape (this is untrue), and only 60% identified that this was false. MoJ estimate 3% of rape allegations are false (and while this figure could include people who complain maliciously, it may also include people who misremembered what happened, misunderstood the law, or didn’t know what happened to them).The number of rapes and sexual assaults that are never reported or prosecuted far outweighs the number of fake accusations.
- 5% of people believed falsely that overconsumption of drugs or alcohol can cause rapes to happen.
- 78% identified that ‘someone repeatedly making unwanted sexual comments to a colleague’ was always an offence