Victims' Champion backs push to tackle sexual violence

By on 25/03/2014 in Cllr Bedser, News
Cllr Jess Phillips

Cllr Jess Phillips

Birmingham Victims’ Champion Cllr Jess Phillips has welcomed a new push to tackle sexual exploitation and violence in the city.

Birmingham Public Health is currently redesigning sexual health services to better address the needs of a young, diverse city in 2014.

And a massive 94 per cent of respondents to a city-wide consultation have backed improved support for people vulnerable to, and victims of, sexual coercion, sexual violence and exploitation.

Cllr Phillips, who works with victims of sexual violence, child sexual exploitation and human trafficking in her role as a manager at Sandwell Women’s Aid, believes the new focus will make it far easier for victims to access help and support.

She said: “This is a refreshing and realistic approach to sexual health and I really hope that other cities follow Birmingham’s lead.

“Sexual health is not just about Chlamydia screening or HIV testing, it’s about people’s physical and mental health – their overall wellbeing.

“I hope this new approach will mean that wherever a victim presents, they get specialist support and care, whether they’re reporting child sexual exploitation, sexual violence, coercion or domestic violence.”

Cabinet Member for Health and Wellbeing, Cllr Steve Bedser, added: “Our aim is to ensure that all residents have the opportunity to live healthy sexual and reproductive lives, free of discrimination, coercion and violence.

“Through this review we're aiming to improve the relationship between sexual health services and, for example, sexual assault referral centres. So we're asking the organisations bidding for this work to start putting particular types of staff in place to support people who may have been through horrific experiences.

“We know that simply coming forward and reporting an issue takes a great deal of courage and can be a very daunting experience. So we want to ensure that the right support is in place to make the process as painless as possible for some of the most vulnerable people in Birmingham.”

Notes

  • Figures taken from the British Crime Survey show that 76,000 Birmingham women and 1,100 men have been subject to a sexual assault since the age of 16. In 2011 that amounted to 11,600 women and 1,100 men.

    • Children in residential care
    • Young people, especially females
    • People with long-standing illness or disability
    • The unemployed
  • Birmingham Public Health is now speaking to potential service providers with a view to introducing the new system in 2015.

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