Constabulary launches annual Op Advisory consent campaign
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With the festive season around the corner, Hertfordshire Constabulary has launched its annual campaign to educate people on the issue of sexual consent.
At this time of year, the night time economy tends to be busier than normal with people celebrating Christmas and new year, with more people heading out to parties and other events or just enjoying a big night out on the town.
The force takes this opportunity to run its Operation Advisory education campaign, reminding people that sex without consent is rape – whoever the person, whatever the circumstances.
Detective Chief Inspector John Harlock, from the constabulary’s Safeguarding Command, said: “Of course, preventing rape and sexual assault is something that we focus on all year round, but as it gets busier over the coming weeks with people out enjoying the festivities, it’s important to remind people that their big night out should be memorable for all the right reasons.
“Hertfordshire is a great and safe place for people to come to celebrate the festive season and we want people to enjoy themselves and have a good time. Sadly, we know there are a minority of people out there who may see the festive season as an excuse to forget normal standards of behaviour, but this is simply not acceptable.
“As always, the message remains clear – sex without consent is rape. No matter what the conversations have been prior to meeting, anyone, male or female, of any sexual orientation, has the right to say no to sexual contact at any time and this should be respected. It is also important to remember that sex with someone who is incapacitated as a result of drink or drugs is rape.
“No one is responsible for sexual offences committed against them and offenders could find themselves facing a prison sentence and being placed on the sex offenders’ register. So please, stop and think about the lasting consequences the actions of one night could have on the rest of your life.”
The constabulary takes all reports of sexual assault seriously, no matter what the circumstances or how long ago the offence occurred.
The Sexual Offences Investigation Team (SOIT) is made up of specialist officers who will provide support and advice to victims throughout an investigation and any subsequent court proceedings.
If you do not feel comfortable speaking with police straight away, you can contact Herts SARC (Sexual Assault Referral Centre) for practical and emotional support. The centre can arrange face-to-face support, sexual health referrals and provide forensic medical examinations for those who want them. The service is open to everyone – men, women and young people, no matter how long ago the abuse occurred.