There are still men out there who think paying for sex gives them a right to rape and assault women.
Thankfully, staff at Leicestershire’s specialist sexual assault referral centre – Juniper Lodge – recognise that being raped or sexually assaulted is not something those women should consider ‘just part of the job.’
Juniper Lodge – and centres like it across the country – were created to provide medical, practical and emotional support to people who have been put through such an ordeal.
That support is available irrespective of whether those people wish to report crimes committed against them to the police or whether they happened recently or in the past.
Its team of specialist doctors, nurses and support workers provides free and discreet essential services such as medical examinations and ongoing counselling.
Also, the centre has a video facility which enables victims to record their statements. It is also linked to the courts by video, enabling witnesses to give evidence from the comfort of the centre.
According to a background piece on the Leicestershire Police website: “You can get a forensic medical examination at a SARC.
“A nurse or doctor will examine you and collect forensic medical evidence (for example using swabs).
Forensic medical evidence means something that the offender might have left behind on your body that could help us prove what happened.
“Having a forensic medical examination doesn’t mean you have to report to the police.
“The SARC can store the evidence and can share it with us if you decide to make a report later. This keeps your options open.”
When the women we support here at the New Futures Project have attended Juniper Lodge they have been treated with dignity and respect.
Jodie, one of those women we’ve supported, said: “I wasn’t sure whether to report (the attack) or not.
“I thought it would be a waste of time, but going to Juniper Lodge was alright. They really looked after me and helped me.”
New Futures director Della Kagure Brown said: “We have worked closely with staff from Juniper Lodge on some quite complex cases and value our working relationship with their team.”
Detective Chief Inspector Lucy Batchelor, of Leicestershire Police, said: “Juniper Lodge provides its comprehensive service to anyone aged 18 and over living in Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland who has been raped or sexually assaulted either recently or at any time in the past.
“The centre provides discreet services by experienced professionals who are there to support, reassure and provide the information victims need to make their own choices – regardless of whether you wish to report to police or not.
“The service is free and confidential and no commitment is required.
“If you are a victim of a sexual offence, please talk to someone you can trust and please know that help and support is always available to you.
“More information about Juniper Lodge can be found at our website at http://www.juniperlodge.org.uk/ or by calling 0116 273 3330 (Mon-Sat, 8am-8pm).
“If you do wish to report to police, the force has a dedicated team of specialist officers who will investigate your report and will support you throughout. Always call 999 in an emergency. In a non-emergency, you can call 101 or report online at http://www.leics.police.uk.”
New Futures was set up more than 20 years ago to support women involved in sex work.
However, we have evolved into a welfare and counselling service for women and young people dealing with sexual abuse or exploitation – frequently involving domestic violence, trafficking, poverty and debt, substance use or mental ill-health.
Call us on 0116 251 0803 or send us a message at: email@example.com
You can find us at 71 London Road, Leicester, LE2 0PE.