Police lead an attitude change towards rape

A NATIONWIDE campaign designed to educate and change attitudes towards rape and sexual assaults was launched in the Lothian and Borders last week.

The ‘We can stop it’ campaign, unveiled in Edinburgh on Thursday, September 13 and expected to be introduced to the Borders in the coming month, is being led by the Association of Chief Police Officers in Scotland (ACPOS) and promotes a recent shift in the law.

The Sexual Offences (Scotland) Act 2009 reformed previous legislation for sexual offences and created a range of new offences relating to sex without consent. Crimes that previously haven’t been focused on, such as sex when a victim is asleep or unconscious, sex without consent through inebriation, and male rape all fall under this.

The campaign uses a series of strong, thought-provoking statements from young men aged 18-27 year olds acting as positive role models. It asks young men to consider their own behaviour and the role they can play in preventing rape.

A 30 second advert has also been produced for use on the specially designed website www.wecanstopit.co.uk and on YouTube. Posters and vinyls will be displayed in areas popular with young men and women, including pubs and clubs throughout Scotland.

The campaign was developed after consultation with partner organisations, academics and focus group research with young men and women across the country. Feedback from the groups highlighted that previous campaigns on the subject were often victim-focused, or targeted men as perpetrators. ‘We can stop it’ is designed to be a positive and proactive campaign which seeks to promote a sense of responsibility rather than attributing blame.

Cabinet Secretary for Justice Kenny MacAskill said: “Rape is a horrific crime and this campaign has my full backing because we need to change attitudes and educate the next generation. This campaign also sends out the message loud and clear to perpetrators that any instance of rape is completely unacceptable and will not be tolerated.

“This Government has strengthened legislation which gives our prosecutors greater tools in their armoury to prosecute the individuals responsible and bring them to justice.

“However, any instance of rape is one too many.”