A CONFERENCE focusing on sexual violence and children is to be held by a Manchester based sexual assault referral centre.
St Mary’s Sexual Assault Referral Centre (SARC) based at Old St Mary’s Hospital, is holding their fourteenth annual conference over the next two days at the Midland Hotel in Manchester.
The conference begins on Friday, April 21 and its speakers include Ian Hopkins, the Chief Constable of Greater Manchester Police, and Dr Nina Burrowes, a Psychologist specialising in sexual abuse.
Charlotte Batra, St Mary’s spokesperson, commented that St Mary’s could only give their own statistics to indicate how many children and young people were at risk in Manchester.
She said: “Our figures show that we are quite busy. In 2015, last year, we saw around 1500 people overall, men, women and children, and just under half of those were children.”
Ms Batra said that the conference is aimed at a range of people including healthcare professionals, voluntary sector workers and the police.
St Mary’s Clinical Director Dr Catherine White said: “Practitioners working in the field of rape and sexual violence to gain increased knowledge and understanding so they can improve their practice so that children and young people who have experienced abuse receive the best quality care.”
SARC’s conference will begin with a short film that has captured the voices of young people, their experiences of sexual assault and the St Mary’s service.
The conference will be held just days after the Women and Equality Select Committee launches a UK-wide inquiry into the sexual harassment of children in schools.
The parliamentary inquiry launched on the Tuesday, April 19 and has so far found that 5,500 sexual offences were recorded in UK schools over a three year period, including 600 rapes.
Although SARC is aware of the Women and Equality Select Committee’s plans Ms Batra said that they hadn’t as yet “had any direct input in the inquiry”.
The below video shows you how to get involved with the Women and Equality Select Committee as they gather evidence:
Anyone who has been the victim of Sexual Violence can access help from St Mary’s Sexual Assault Referral Centre by clicking here or by phoning the centre on 0161 276 6515.
By Abigail Frazer