Greater Manchester Police have announced that the number of rapes amongst Manchester students in the first three months of term have doubled since last year with over 30 reported cases in 2014.
In coalition with the Greater Manchester universities and student unions, Greater Manchester Police (GMP) have launched a new anti-rape campaign aimed at students, with the strapline “drinking is not a crime, rape is.”
The new campaign is being launched in light of the news that in the past three months there have been double the number of reports of rape from students in comparison to 2013. As part of the campaign university premises and licensed premises will see new posters being put up and the hashtag #noconsentnosex will be reinforced across social media sites.
The announcement of the new campaign comes just weeks after a controversial story was ran by the Manchester Tab over a GMP poster claimed to be targeted at rape and telling students to “keep their assets out of sight”. However, it was later established the poster was in fact over seven years old and was targeted at theft crimes towards students.
In stark contrast, GMP’s actual anti-rape campaign is now being heralded as an important step for the police in shifting emphasis from the victim to the perpetrators of rape crimes.
Speaking about the new campaign generally Detective Inspector Damian Simpson from GMP’s Serious Sexual Offences Unit said: “Unfortunately we’ve dealt with many an incident whereby two young people have met on an alcohol-fuelled night out, one thing has led to another and the next morning we’re arresting somebody for rape.
“It doesn’t matter whether there has been flirting, kissing or you’ve exchanged numbers—sex without consent is rape, and if somebody is too drunk to consent then the best thing for all involved is to assume it has not been given.
“Rape ruins lives for both the victim and perpetrator and you have my absolute word that we will take each report seriously and are committed to bringing offenders to justice, whatever the circumstances may be.”
However, the campaign has not escaped student reservations focused on the extent of the campaign in terms of who the campaign is targeted towards and how effective it will ultimately be in reducing the number of rape crimes committed against students.
The Mancunion reached out to the Greater Manchester Police press office over expressed concerns and spoke with Detective Inspector Damian Simpson.
Speaking on the initial statistics, that there have been 30 reported cases in the first three months of term which is double from 2013, DI Simpson stated that on a national level 30 reports of rapes being committed is a low statistic in terms of students, but is higher than last year. However on this matter he was quite confident that there would have been more incidents that actually occurred in 2013, but that these would have gone largely unreported.
In regards to concerns that the campaign was aimed specifically at student perpetrators following emphasis in press statements on drunken incidents occurring amongst young individuals, DI Simpson stated that this perception was misconstrued. The campaign is in itself aimed at discouraging all males of taking advantage of a drunken person and specifically targeting males to consider in drunken situations whether they really have been given consent.
Further on the issue of the intended audience of the campaign DI Simpson said that out of the 30 reports only one actually concerned a student perpetrator and that the wider remit of the campaign was evident in its launch on Thursday 20th November on Granada Reports and also in the wide range of bars across Manchester in which the posters have now been placed.
Speaking about expressed student concerns over the effectiveness of the campaign in preventing incidents of rape DI Simpson stated that he disagreed with concerns over whether the campaign would in fact prevent rapes occurring. Stating that the campaign was a proactive approach of deterring people to commit the offence and that if this prevents even a few instances then that will be a success.
Finally DI Simpson wished to encourage any students who had views on how to improve the campaign or had a better approach to hitting a wider audience to express such views to either the Student Union or the Mancunion in order to help GMP in the future with other campaigns.
GMP have also announced that they will continue to remain working closely with St Mary’s Sexual Assault Referral Centre and other partners including Survivors Manchester, Rape Crisis, to continually improve the support services offered to victims of this crime.
To report an incident please contact police on 101 or, in an emergency dial 999. Calls will be treated in the strictest of confidence.
Also follow #noconsentnosex on twitter to join in the conversation.
The Mancunion wants to know what students think of the new student aimed anti-rape campaign. Please take the time to comment below on any reservations or positive comments you have on the campaign.