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04 Jan 2013
Cheshire Police continues to drive out the message ‘rape
shatters lives, there is no excuse.’ For over a year now Cheshire
Constabularies Dedicated Rape Unit
which brings together specialist officers to work with victims of
rape, have been working closely with the Crown Prosecution service
to get justice for victims of rape.
Historically, the number of rapes and sexual assaults show a
rise during the winter months and in particular the spikes happen
in the run up to Christmas. Cheshire Police through the ‘rape
shatters lives’ campaign are determined to raise people’s
awareness about the fact there are more rapes and sexual
assaults occurring at this time of the year than at any other
To get this message across, Cheshire Police have been
able to speak to a victim of rape who has
allowed us to tell her story about how rape
shattered her life.
Her experience starts when she is a teenager
during her first sexual relationship. She was inexperienced, and
really young at the time, she speaks about ‘being quite vulnerable
‘as this was her first proper relationship and she didn’t have
anything to compare it to.
To protect her identity we will refer to her as Sasha and
this is her account in her own
words of how rape shattered her life.
I was young and I thought I was in a normal relationship and
although I didn’t think what he was doing was right, I didn’t
really know he shouldn’t be doing that in a relationship. It is
only now that I am coming out of it that I now see how bad it
She explains how she went to the police a lot during the
I’d been given cards and things with numbers on and other
information from the police including call this number if you have
been a victim and things. To be honest I never did, in the whole
time of the relationship, I never did contact
anyone. I did make use of a women’s refuge a couple of
When the Dedicated Rape Unit was established in September 2011,
Sasha’s case was brought to the attention of the specialist
officers in the Unit. She talks about the difference it
made to her having officers who, because they dealt with
many cases of rape, really understood from her perspective what she
was going through.
The officers have just been a big support. They
didn’t just come out and take a statement from me and leave me.
They would phone me, and ask me if I was ok.
Officers from the Dedicated Rape Unit build
relationships with the victims by taking the time to
listen to and support each person they have contact with.
The officer dealing with my case would phone me in the week, and
ask “how are you? how’s your week been?” and it was really nice. It
just made you feel like someone was there and they are supporting
you all the way through. You are not just a number to them. They
are not trying to win a case; they actually care about
you all the way through it. I needed it at that point.
Sasha went on to say how not having to speak to more than one
officer every time she rang the unit really helped her to form a
close bond and build up that trust – one thing she
has found it difficult to do with everyone she has met since her
It was almost like she had been there the whole time. She knew
everything and could jog my memory of incidents that had happened,
because I would forget. It is all a big blur and all blurs into one
because all sorts had gone on. But she would know and she’d say,
“you said in your statement this happened then”. I needed that
right up to the court case, because I was really panicking about
everything and couldn’t think straight. She was able to calm me
down and just helped me all the way through it.
Talking about what it was like after the court case, Sasha
It was a big relief afterwards. When the
officer told me what the verdict was, I just cried. It was just
loads of emotions. I was upset, I was pleased. It was just a really
strange experience. It was an end to 10 years of
Sasha went on to describe how after it was all over, she
felt empowered knowing her ex was in prison, giving her a
sense of freedom and security and with the help of her dedicated
officer from the Rape Unit she has been able to piece her life back
together and think about her future more positively. She
Now that I know that he’s gone, that’s it. He can’t do
anything else to me. I’m in control of my life
now; I will do what I want to do. Without him going to
prison, I don’t think he would have ever left me alone. So knowing
that he’s locked up and can’t get to me is a massive weight off
In the short time that the Dedicated Rape Unit has been
established, the Unit has worked closely with the Rape and Sexual
Abuse Support Centre (RASASC) and the Sexual Abuse Referral Centre
(SARC) based at St Mary’s Hospital in Manchester to provide that
much needed support to victims.
You can read more about the rape campaign on the Cheshire Police website.