Police launch campaign to educate young men about rape

We Can Stop It campaign Image copyright Police Scotland
Image caption The campaign aims to reinforce messages on what constitutes rape

Police Scotland have launched a month-long campaign to raise awareness about rape.

It is aimed at educating young men about the law, which changed in 2010.

But it is also hoped it will persuade victims that reporting rape early increases the chances of offenders being traced.

The campaign, We Can Stop It, is supported by groups including Rape Crisis Scotland and features posters, radio adverts and social media.

New laws, widening the definition of rape in Scotland, came into effect in 2010.

The Sexual Offences (Scotland) Act 2009 means any sexual intercourse without consent between a man and a woman or between two men is rape.

For the first time this included cases where the victim is incapable of agreeing through drink or drugs.

Positive behaviour

Police say one-in-six rapes takes place when the victim is asleep, and more than 90% are carried out by someone known to the victim.

Their campaign - featuring posters, adverts and social media activity - targets young men, both heterosexual and gay, to raise their awareness of what rape is.

The adverts feature a number of statements from men which support positive behaviour and knowledge that sex without consent is rape.

Image caption One-in-six rapes happens when the victim is asleep, police say

Assistant Chief Constable Malcolm Graham said: "There are a wide range of circumstances around each case - but the common factor is that where there is no consent, it is rape.

"I hope this campaign encourages men to think about their behaviour and through that help reduce offending which will mean fewer victims of this crime."

The officer said the campaign could also help victims understand that the earlier they reported a rape, the greater the chance police would have to trace the perpetrator.

Image copyright Police Scotland
Image caption Campaign groups have welcomed the strategy to speak directly to men

A number of groups are supporting the campaign, which will run throughout March.

Sandie Barton, national co-coordinator of Rape Crisis Scotland, said: "We Can Stop It speaks directly to men and offers a very positive message - that rape is preventable, and men can play a positive role in making this happen."

Lily Greenan, manager for Women's Aid, said: "Rape and sexual assault are among the least reported crimes in Scotland today and this campaign to raise awareness of the issue is therefore very welcome.

"We think it is particularly important that the campaign involves men challenging other men in a positive way to make sure that their partner consents to sexual activity and commend Police Scotland for taking this approach."

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