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The West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner and partners have launched a new strategy on tackling sexual abuse in the region.

The Sexual Assault and Abuse Strategy is a comprehensive document which addresses the response that will be taken in the West Midlands to tackling sexual abuse, both current and historic.

It addresses how victims of all ages will be supported and how perpetrators of sexual assault and abuse will be responded to.

The piece of work has been put together by the West Midlands Sexual Assault and Abuse board, a collaboration of public sector organisations and third sector specialists in tackling abuse.

The strategy runs for 3 years and is part of the work being led by the Police and Crime Commissioner’s Violence Reduction Unit to tackle exploitation in the West Midlands.

The strategy commits to embedding the national NHS Strategic Direction for Sexual Assault and Abuse Services, Lifelong care for victims and survivors:2018-2023. The core principles are around helping victims and come under 3 headings:

Supporting victims and survivors to recover

Supporting victims and survivors to heal

Supporting victims and survivors to rebuild their lives

The strategy focuses on a key role for the police in taking tough action against offenders in pursuing those who have harmed others and ensure that they are brought to justice as well as protecting victims of sexual assault and abuse.

Launching the report, the Deputy Police and Crime Commissioner, Waheed Saleem said: “Tackling Sexual Assault and Abuse is absolutely critical to the work of the police and our partners.

“These are some of the most horrific crimes which can leave victims and survivors damaged for years if not the rest of their lives.

“With this new strategy, we have a clear direction in how we will protect victims, help them get their lives back and take tough action against perpetrators of sexual assault and abuse.

“Our Violence Reduction Unit has been a leading partner in bringing this piece of work together. Tackling violence and exploitation in all its forms is at the heart of their work.

“In the coming years, with this new direction, we will help survivors of sexual assault and abuse and ensure that justice is done to those who commit these crimes.”

The NHS, Public Health England as well as local authorities from across the region have agreed to the document and all have a part to play in helping and supporting victims.

The Deputy Chair of the Sexual Assault and Abuse Board and CEO of CRASAC, Natalie Thompson said: “Rape and sexual abuse can have a huge impact on the psychological and physical health of victims and survivors.

“Sexual violence is prevalent amongst our communities and the issues surrounding it poorly understood. 

“This strategy gives organisations and agencies in the West Midlands a platform on which to bring about positive change for victims and survivors and I’m grateful to all those individuals involved.”

Access the Sexual Assault and Abuse Strategy 2020-2023 here.

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