A new government campaign, #ItStillMatters, has launched today (1st February 2021), seeking to raise awareness of sexual violence and abuse services and ensure victims and survivors know where to get help.
The launch coincides with the first day of the UK's annual Sexual Abuse & Sexual Violence Awareness Week, #ItsNotOK.
At the same time, the Government has announced £40m in additional funding for specialist sexual violence and domestic abuse support services.
It comes as charities have reported a 200% increase in helpline calls and people accessing webchat emotional support services since the first lockdown.
Katie Russell, national spokesperson for Rape Crisis England & Wales said:
“It’s a credit to the dedication and professionalism of our member Rape Crisis Centres that they adapted swiftly to the conditions of the pandemic nearly a year ago and have continued providing their life-changing and life-saving specialist services ever since, including through secure digital technologies.
As the extremely challenging conditions of the last ten months have exacerbated isolation, anxiety and complex physical, mental and emotional health issues for sexual violence and abuse victims and survivors who were already living with the impacts of trauma, we’ve inevitably seen need and demand for our specialist services increase even further.
This new contribution towards our ongoing efforts to fulfil victims’ and survivors’ unmet needs is vital and very gratefully received, as is the Government’s recognition of our frontline work as essential.
We’re pleased too that the Government’s new campaign will echo and amplify our consistent message to those living with the impacts of all forms of sexual violence and abuse: you are not alone, we are still here for you.”