Rape will not be tolerated say Cheshire Police ‘Rape shatters lives’ is a key message from Cheshire Police as part of their ongoing campaign to tackle a seasonal rise in rape and serious sexual assaults which historically occur at this time of the year.

Cheshire Constabulary are highlighting this issue as part of the national police ‘In Focus’ Week.

The message is clear this Christmas - ‘there is no excuse − rape shatters lives’. Since the Dedicated Rape Unit was established over a year ago, there have been 313 cases of rape recorded and the officers in the unit are getting justice for victims as force wide, the detection rates for rape have risen by 5.7% from June to November against last year’s figures. The skill and dedication of officers prove there is ‘no excuse’ an offender can give for rape or sexual assault as more and more offenders are being held to account for their actions through the courts.

As part of ‘rape shatters lives - there is no excuse’, Cheshire Police are appealing to people to think about how their actions over the festive period can shatter lives as officers deal with offenders who use a variety of excuses to explain their actions when they are arrested.

Assistant Chief Constable Ruth Purdie said: "Our message is clear - anyone who uses force to have sex with another person is committing a criminal offence. Everyone has the right to say no to sex - without consent, sex with another person is rape. "We want to reassure victims of rape that we are committed to getting justice for them. Rape is a distressing act and officers, when they are investigating allegations of rape will not accept excuses from offenders for their actions. The law is clear − "No means No!".

Most people find the subject of rape difficult to discuss as the mental images it conjures up are distressing. The ′shattered lives′ approach spells out to potential offenders the impact that rape has on the lives of victims. ACC Purdie commented, "We need to make it socially unacceptable for people to think that they can offer an excuse as a means of mitigating their actions when they are charged with an offence of rape or sexual assault.

There are no excuses for rape or sexual violence and those who normalise, deny or blame the victim for their own actions must understand that making excuses for themselves or their friends who have used force to get ‘what they wanted’ will not be tolerated."

Cheshire Police are urging more victims to have the confidence to come forward and report rape to the police. They need to think through the consequences of not reporting a rape or sexual assault − someone’s daughter, mother or friend could be the offender’s next victim.

ACC Purdie added, "We are calling for more people who experience sexual offences to report it to us, so that we can get them the support they need and so we can do everything we can to stop it happening again − to them or anyone else.

"To report a sexual offence or rape to the police, call 101 or 999 in an emergency."