Burnley festive sex attack alert

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WOULD-BE sex attackers in Burnley are being targeted by a hard-hitting police campaign aimed at reducing the number of rape and sexual assaults over the Christmas period.

Posters giving graphic details of how forensic evidence is collected from a suspected rapist will be placed in pub and club toilets while signs aimed at potential victims, detailing how most attacks take place in the home, will be put up in leisure centres, doctors’ surgeries and businesses.

The campaign will also feature on Facebook in a bid to prevent attacks, which traditionally see a rise in December when more people tend to go out drinking alcohol.

Det. Chief Insp. Neil Esseen, from Lancashire Constabulary, said that, in the majority of cases, the victim knows their attacker and meeting on a night out after drinking alcohol can be a contributory factor.

“It does not matter what a victim is wearing, how much they have had to drink or if there has been physical contact already – no means no and if there is no consent then there should be no sex,” he said.

“Alcohol can impair the ability of a person to give that proper consent – so if in doubt, don’t.

“This latest campaign has been launched during the festive period to highlight the fact that Lancashire Constabulary is committed to tackling rape and serious sexual assault, and the campaign is very much aimed at prevention.

“Rape and sexual assault can be a taboo subject. The images used on our posters have been chosen to grab a person’s attention, create a talking point and raise awareness of the issue.

“Rape is often perceived as an offence committed by strangers. In order to keep people safe, we need to challenge that perception, as we know that in the majority of cases in Lancashire, the victim and the offender know each other. This is often through meeting on a night out where alcohol is a contributory and influencing factor.

“The message to offenders is very clear but uncomfortable – you will be arrested, we will take evidence from you and you will be brought to justice.

“We also want victims to know that they will be treated with compassion and that everything possible will be done to trace those responsible and take action against them. We hope that this will encourage more people to come forward and report what has happened to them.”