A CAMPAIGN to alert young people to the risk of sexual violence has been launched in Wrexham.

In just the past 12 months the eastern division of North Wales Police has received reports of 183 female victims of rape or sexual assault and 29.5 per cent of the victims were aged between 13 and 16.

The Wrexham-based Inspire project says that of the young people referred to them between February 2007 and February 2009, 24 per cent were associated with some form of sexual violence.

In 2008 the North Wales Rape and Sexual Abuse Support Centre (RASA) provided support to 1,850 clients, 25 per cent were under the age of 25 and 296 (16 per cent) came from the Wrexham area.

On top of these shock statistics, Wrexham Community Safety Partnership’s Sexual Violence Task Group has highlighted a general lack of understanding by young people about consent for sex.

Evidence suggests that many young girls feel unable to say “no” and many young boys do not feel the need to ask for consent.

The majority of the police reporting reflect concerns that consent has been misunderstood.

To help tackle the problem, the Community Safety Partnership has just agreed an action plan for 2009-2011, which outlines work to tackle young people’s experience of sexual violence.

Launched at Yale College, the campaign involves new hi-tech communication methods.

A range of displays will be placed around the college as part of the He Says She Says campaign which aim to alert students to free downloads which will be made available to them via Bluetooth or I Phone.

They will be encouraged to access a web-based game which raises awareness and understanding of sexual violence and aims to dispel myths surrounding the issue.
The campaign will also focus heavily on re-enforcing facts around consent for sex.

Chief Supt Ruth Purdie, who chairs the Community Safety Partnership, said: “The partnership has made significant progress in the field of sexual violence during recent months.

"I am pleased we have been able to secure funding from the Home Office and from the Thomas Howells Education Fund for North Wales which has enabled us to develop this campaign.

“I’m confident it will contribute towards raising awareness amongst young people about sexual violence and re-enforce the message that sex without consent is rape and this is a serious crime.“