The Hertfordshire Constabulary is backing a national campaign to tackle Sexual Violence

Sexual Abuse Awareness Week, the national campaign, which runs from February 4 to 10, aims to raise awareness of the support and services that are available to anyone who has been subjected to sexual abuse and sexual violence.

Hertfordshire Constabulary has numerous specialist investigation and safeguarding teams that support victims of sexual offences:

• The Sexual Offences Investigation Team (SOIT) is made up of specially trained detectives and deals with serious sexual offences, including rape, against adults.

• The Child Online Safeguarding Team (COST) was set up to tackle and investigate offences against children on the internet, such as grooming or the sharing of child abuse images.

• The Joint Child Protection and Investigation Unit (JCPIT) investigates allegations of child abuse – including the sexual and physical abuse of children and criminal neglect cases. The team work alongside Hertfordshire County Council's Children’s Services. The unit also has a specific team that investigates historic child abuse allegations.

• Halo is a dedicated team set up to tackle child sexual exploitation (CSE) in Hertfordshire. CSE occurs where an individual or group manipulates a child or young person into sexual activity, usually in exchange for something like presents, money or status.

Detective Chief Inspector Neil Langford said: “Hertfordshire Constabulary takes sexual abuse and sexual violence very seriously and we fully support this week of awareness raising. It is not ok to sexually assault or abuse someone.

“Our work to support victims of sexual abuse and sexual violence continues all year round and there are a range of services in place offering help and advice.”

Advice and support for adults affected by rape or sexual assault is available by contacting Herts SARC (Sexual Assault Referral Centre) on 0808 178 4448 or or Herts Rape Crisis on 01707 276512.