It is hoped more training will mean frontline officers in Cheshire give better support to those reporting rape and sexual violence.
It is after feedback from victims identified a knowledge gap in some workers, including police officers.
A consultation, which was funded by NHS England and facilitated by the Police and Crime Commissioner’s office, asked survivors of rape and sexual violence and also support services for their views on aftercare provided by the police and other agencies.
While support from Cheshire’s specialist rape unit was praised, some survivors had experienced an ‘insensitive’ or ‘inappropriate’ response from first-response officers who are not specially trained to handle these types of cases.
In response, PCC David Keane has developed a scenario-led video training package which he is looking to roll-out to all new officers joining Cheshire Constabulary and existing officers receiving refresher training.
He is launching the training during Sexual Abuse and Sexual Violence Awareness Week (3-9 Feb 2020), a national campaign which raises awareness of the effects of the crimes.
He said: “We know that incidents of rape and sexual violence are massively underreported with only 17 per cent* of survivors reporting the crimes to the police and two thirds not telling anyone at all.
“It takes a lot of confidence for survivors to come forward and relive the ordeal so it’s important that they feel supported by police and other frontline agencies.
“These videos will use real-life scenarios to educate officers on the incidents they might face and help them identify how to respond appropriately and sensitively.
“I hope that this training aid will improve officers’ initial response and by building confidence and trust in the police service will encourage more survivors to report to the police.”