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Community Safety

Campaign against sexual violence ahead of expected spike in crimes

Ahead of the spike in sexual offences that sadly occurs on New Years Eve, Lambeth Council is re-launching its award winning anti-sexual violence campaign, Know the Difference.

Police figures show New Year’s Eve is the worst day of the year by far for sex offences, with 191 per cent more incidents recorded across London than on an average day.

In response Know the Difference targets men and challenges behaviours, attitudes and actions towards women around rape, sexual assault and harassment.

Cllr Jack Hopkins, Cabinet Member for Safer Neighbourhoods, said: “I want to be clear, violence and sexual assault against women and girls is abhorrent. We know that we suffer an increase in sexual offences on New Years Eve and are determined to act.

“Through Know the Difference we are putting responsibility firmly on the shoulders of potential offenders and telling them certain behaviours are totally unacceptable. At the same time we are providing as much support as possible to victims of sexual violence.”

The campaign which launched today (December 10) will particularly focus on the borough’s night life, especially popular Brixton and Clapham.

Hard hitting posters and adverts with the campaign’s central message, Real Men Know the Difference – and so does the Law, will be displayed across the borough.

Tube stations, bus stops, pubs, clubs will be displaying the imagery as a significant number of rapes and sexual assaults in the borough involve offenders who have briefly known their victims. For example they may have met in a bar or club.

The push is back by Lambeth police whose specialist Sapphire unit whose main role is investigating rapes and other serious sexual violence.

Detective Chief Inspector Seb Florent, from of the MPS Sapphire Command: “Over the festive period, as always, the MPS Sapphire Team for Lambeth are fully committed to tracking down rapists and perpetrators of sexual crime and bringing them to justice.”

Lambeth Council’s Know the Difference campaign has this year been adopted by the British Army and was last year recognised at the Local Government Communications Reputation Awards.

The latest action is being taken as part of Lambeth council’s Safer Communities campaign to highlight what we’re doing to make the borough a safer place. The campaign also shows how we are giving people in the borough more control over the council’s work with the police to reduce crime and the fear of crime.

To support victims of sexual offence there are a range of services available including:

•           Haven Camberwell for advice on 020 3299 1599 or havens.co.uk

•           The Gaia Centre on 0207 733 8724 or refuge.org.uk/about-us/what-we-do/gaia-centre-lambeth

•           The police on 101 or 999 in an emergency

Tackling Violence against Women and Girls (VAWG) is a key priority for Lambeth and the council have delivered on a commitment to safeguard and increase VAWG funding.

In August 2011 Lambeth Council published its first ever VAWG strategy. The strategy is one the first in the country and was developed using the latest figures relating to prevalence of VAWG in Lambeth and a detailed research study which includes the innovative customer insight report exploring the views of victim-survivors in the borough.

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