Clydesdale police officers and local organisations - and even barmaids and barmen - are playing their part in the launch of a major crackdown on rape in Lanarkshire.
With county sexual assault figures on the rise in the past year, the Lanarkshire Division of Police Scotland has joined with the local NHS, councils and many voluntary groups in the `We Can Stop It’ crusade, trying to make men think about their own actions and encouraging bystanders to intervene if they see a situation which might result in a rape in progress.
The campaign intends to get its message through to as wide a section of the population as possible; even bar staff are to be given advice on how to spot potential rape situations developing in the pubs they are working in and report their fears to the police so that preventative action can be taken.
At the launch of the campaign, Detective Chief Inspector Paul Livingston of Lanarkshire CID, said: “The main focus of our campaign is the message that sex without consent is rape.
“It is a very clear message to perpetrators, forcing them to look at their own behaviour and attitudes.
“Sexual crime is under-reported and we encourage people to come forward to report rape. The numbers reported to Lanarkshire Division have increased and I believe this is because victims are more confident to report such a crime.
“We work very closely with a number of partner agencies including Rape Crisis and Women’s Aid, to ensure victims are provided with the best support available to them.
“We have a team of specialist officers working within Lanarkshire Division to deal with sexual crime.
“However, we want to prevent that type of crime happening in the first place. One way in which we can ensure that happens is by engaging with our partners in the licensed trade, in community groups, in youth groups, to raise awareness of how we can all have a part to play in preventing sexual crime.
“Don’t be a bystander, if you see a vulnerable person who could be at risk of being a victim of sexual or any crime, please step forward and intervene. You could have the power to stop them from becoming a victim.”
For further information about the We Can Stop It campaign go to the website at: www.wecanstopit.co.uk.