Justice Secretary Dominic Raab has praised the work of a group of Nottinghamshire organisations set up to raise awareness of sexual consent and increase access to support for victims of violence.
In a letter to Nottinghamshire Police and Crime Commissioner Caroline Henry and East Midlands criminal justice partners, the Lord Chancellor and Deputy Prime Minister said the Ministry of Justice was keen to work with local partners as part of efforts to improve timeliness across the justice system, increase victim engagement and improve the quality of justice.
In sharing key performance data for the East Midlands, the MP commended the work undertaken to establish the Consent Coalition.
The Consent Coalition, comprised of a number of partners across Nottinghamshire including Commissioner Henry, Nottingham City Council, Nottinghamshire Police, both of Nottingham’s universities and a host of health and voluntary sector agencies aims to prevent misogyny and sexual harassment, expose myths around rape and importantly empower victims and survivors of rape and sexual violence to report their experiences to police and seek support.
The organisation was recently commissioned by Commissioner Henry and partners to deliver its A-Z of Consent campaign on buses and a tram in Nottingham City Centre, in order to raise awareness of what sexual consent means and increase the safety of women and girls.
The bus and tram campaign, which will run for the next 12 months, was launched after Commissioner Henry secured more than £250,000 from the Home Office’s Safety of Women at Night (SWaN) fund.
Commissioner Henry said: “I am immensely proud of the Justice Minister’s appraisal of the Consent Coalition and the important work it is undertaking to encourage women to seek support and report their experiences to the police.
“This endorsement shows Nottinghamshire really is leading the way in improving services for victims of sexual crime and increasing confidence in the justice system and I am keen to build on this progress.
“The A-Z of Consent campaign, and the wider SWaN project, has been an important way of communicating the help and support available for victims of sexual violence and delivering preventative education to stop crimes happening in the first place. There is much more to do and we will continue to work with our partners to deliver the highest quality services possible.”
Charlotte Caulton-Scott, Senior District Crown Prosecutor and Head of RASSO (Rape and Serious Sexual Offences), CPS, said: “The CPS, as a member of the Consent Coalition, welcomes the recognition by the Deputy Prime Minister for the valuable contribution that we are making to tackling sexual abuse. What makes the Coalition so powerful is that it is managed and designed by sexual violence specialists. The combination of people involved mean that we have the broadest spectrum of experience and are therefore able to produce resources that are effective, supportive and most importantly, free.”
Operation Soteria is a joint programme between the CPS and police designed to improve how rape cases are investigated and prosecuted.
“We focus on building cases and doing so in a timely fashion, because we appreciate that there is a survivor at the heart of every case waiting to hear the outcome; the national scorecards, our monitoring data, shows our commitment in this regard with our timeliness in the East Midlands being 28 days for a charging decision,” explained Charlotte.
“There is a commitment by the CPS nationally that good practice is shared and spread between our specialist teams, including the work of our Operation Soteria Areas and from the Coalition. We are constantly looking for opportunities to improve our service in these most important of cases.”
NOTES TO EDITORS
Since forming, the Consent Coalition has created an array of resources including the ‘Your Journey’ booklet as a guide for survivors and with survivors, which has been downloaded 6,000 times since its launch.
The A-Z of consent campaign is a powerful resource that challenges and debunks myths around consent. The CPS and the Coalition has long recognised that we are all overdue a vital conversation about what consent truly looks like. Its work can be accessed using the website https://nottssvss.org.uk/consent-coalition/ which provides support and educational material.
Posted on Thursday 19th May 2022