A South West charity that supports victims of rape and sexual abuse has strengthened its cover with the appointment of two new crisis support workers.

The extended cover means First Light, which covers Cornwall and Plymouth, can offer a more robust support to men and women in the South West who have experienced rape or sexual assault.

It is also in response to growing numbers of victims who are coming forward to report incidents following high profile media campaigns such as #MeToo. In Cornwall, First Light has supported 1600 victims of sexual assault or rape since 2011. Of these, just under one third (31%) were self referrals – people coming forward to report either an immediate or historic incident.

The charity is now encouraging people to report incidents of sexual assault directly to them if they wish, via self-referral. To report an incident, please contact First Light in Cornwall on 01872 272059 or Plymouth 03458 121212 or go to https://www.firstlight.org.uk

First Light Sexual Violence Service Manager for Cornwall Sharon Minty said: “Anyone unsure about reporting a sexual assault can talk to us be assured that they can access the support they need without immediately involving the police.

“We offer an independent service that enables victims to make informed decisions. We provide crucial emotional and practical support, as well as addressing immediate health needs.

“If you do choose to report the assault to the police, we can then provide additional help through pre-trial and court, so we are with you every step of the way.”

First Light supports more than 4,500 victims of sexual abuse and domestic violence in Cornwall and Plymouth each year.

In Plymouth, there were an estimated 270 rapes and 450 other sexual offences in Plymouth between 2016 and 2017. There are thought to be around 20,00 historic victims of sexual violence living in Plymouth.

17 April 2018