Cases of sexual abuse and sexual harassment have tripled in the last three years in Sheffield, according to a leading charity in the city.
The new figures come on the back of statistics that around one in five people working at Westminster have experienced or witnessed sexual harassment in the past year.
This coincides with Sexual Abuse and Sexual Harassment Awareness week, which runs from the 5th of February to the 11th. The week aims to raise awareness and understanding about these issues and how to get help.
Meera Kulkarni, Chief Executive of Sheffield Rape and Sexual Abuse centre, said: “We have seen a tripling in our demand in the last few years and this year we will see over 300 counselling clients and will have supported nearly 350 clients through our Independent Sexual Violence Advisor service.”
Victims of sexual abuse have expressed the importance of reporting these issues and the difference it has made to their lives.
A client of SRASAC who wishes to remain anonymous, said: “Just thank you, it’s a simple word but the help that you have given me has been life changing for me. I feel I have been freed from a lot of thoughts/feeling/anxiety so thank you very much.”
Last year more than 60 women made sexual abuse and harassment allegations against Harvey Weinstein.
In response to this, over 12 million people shared their experiences of sexual abuse and harassment using the ‘#metoo’ on social media.
Meera Kulkarni, believed this encouraged others to come forward, she said: “I think people recognising that what they have experienced is ‘not ok’ – it’s also worth remembering that although the number of reported sexual offences is increasing, this is estimated to be only 10-15% of the actual number of incidents. Only 15% of clients in counselling have reported to the police.”
Statistics from South Yorkshire Police show that in the past year there have been more than 1,000 reported cases of sexual assault and rape, this covers women, men and children.
Watch Lucia Irvine, a victim of sexual abuse, below who has bravely waived her anonymity in order to highlight the importance of these issues.