Mydecision.co.uk website launch
“You have options”; that is the message from the Metropolitan Police Service as it today launches a comprehensive website that outlines the choices available to victims of rape and serious sexual assault.
Mydecision.co.uk has been created as a step-by-step guide for anyone who has, or knows someone who has, been raped or sexually assaulted. It takes the user through all their options; from who to contact, to the type of care they will receive, how evidence will be collected, making a report, the investigation and their ability to control the process.
As the internet has increasingly become part of many people’s everyday life, an online service was seen as the most effective way to communicate with the public by providing answers to individuals’ questions and concerns in an anonymous, private and trusted environment. As well as explaining every step in detail, the site also offers choices, advice and links to other support organisations which the MPS works in partnership with.
The site was produced following engagement with a number of charities and organisations who work closely with victims. This highlighted a number of barriers people may have to reporting, such as victims feeling they will not be believed, being confused about where to go for help, and feeling that they would lose control of the process once in the hands of police. The site was therefore created with the purpose of raising awareness of the services and support available to victims; as well as dispelling myths.
The MPS recognises that rape and serious sexual assault remain significantly under-reported. It is estimated that of the people who have experienced rape, only one in five will go to the police and around 40% of victims will choose not to report it. We are committed to changing this and it is hoped the website will help achieve this by educating people about their choices and ultimately encouraging reporting.
We have specially-trained Sexual Offences Investigative Techniques (SOIT) officers who support individuals through an investigation. Alternatively, The Havens provide those individuals who do not wish to go to the police with support services. They can also arrange for clients to speak to a SOIT officer for advice completely anonymously; an opportunity research indicates is appealing to victims.
Detective Chief Superintendent, Mick Duthie, Head of the Sapphire Command said: “We know that rape and serious sexual assault remains seriously under-reported which means that far too many people are suffering in silence. We are absolutely committed to changing this by equipping individuals with the knowledge and awareness of ALL the options available to them.
"Victims may be unaware of what help is out there for them and could be apprehensive about speaking with the police for fear they will have no control over the ensuing police process. Mydecision.co.uk will play a key role in helping victims get the support they need and assisting them in taking a positive step on their journey to speaking out.
"Every case is different. I want to encourage victims to come forward regardless of the circumstances so they can receive the relevant care and support. Come forward and speak to us.”
+ Seek advice and help from the police by calling 101. In an emergency always call 999. Alternatively, should you wish to remain anonymous, you can speak to the Havens sexual assault referral centres (www.thehavens.co.uk) or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.
Further information and advice is available on the Met's Sapphire webpage: http://www.met.police.uk/sapphire.