Page last updated at 06:49 GMT, Monday, 30 November 2009

Party season rape awareness plea

Gwent Police poster raising awareness about rape and sexual assault
Police say they want people to have a good time but to keep themselves safe

A campaign to raise awareness about rape and sexual assault ahead of the Christmas party season is being launched by Gwent Police.

It is part of a national initiative warning women partygoers to protect themselves against sex assaults.

Officers will be visiting pubs and clubs and distributing posters advising on how to get home safe.

They are also trying to encourage more people to report rape and sexual assault to the police.

The newly-formed Onyx Unit which specialises is investigating sex assault is also behind the campaign.

Det Ch Insp Steve Mogg, head of serious sexual and violent crime at Gwent Police, said: "As the Christmas party season approaches, we want people who are going out to have a good time but to keep themselves safe.

"As part of this week-long awareness campaign, we will be out and about in the pubs and clubs of Gwent making information available and talking to people about the best ways to avoid becoming a victim, but also how to avoid becoming a perpetrator."

Poster advising people how to get home safe
Gwent officers are distributing posters around pubs and clubs in their area

Mr Mogg said officers wanted to encourage young people to be aware of their alcohol intake and to think twice about going home with someone or inviting them back.

He added: "When alcohol is involved things can become blurred and confused but there are no grey areas in regards to sex without consent - as far as the police are concerned we treat that as rape."

It is believed that, on average, only one in 10 victims in the UK report rape to police.

Mr Mogg said he wanted to reassure people that they took rape "extremely seriously and constantly strive to improve the service and support" given to victims.

He said the unit was made up of highly-trained and specialist officers whose expertise was investigating sexual assaults.

It also offers help and support from the initial report and throughout the investigation until the case gets to court.

Mr Mogg said Gwent Police had been working hard over the past year in partnership with agencies such as New Pathways and Women's Aid to encourage victims to come forward.

"I'm confident that this work, as well as the recent increase in the public's confidence in Gwent Police, has resulted in more people having the confidence to report cases of rape," he added.

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