Plymouth hosts first Sexual Violence Conference


Plymouth hosted a one day conference on sexual violence with a range of local, regional and national speakers including a survivor of sexual violence, Winnie M Li, who shared her inspirational story of how she has survived.

The Safer Plymouth event took place at Devonport Guildhall on Wednesday 6 February and forms part of national Sexual Violence Week (4 – 10 February) which also saw the opening of Plymouth’s new Sexual Assault Referral Centre (SARC) by NHS England.

Carole Burgoyne, Strategic Director for People for Plymouth City Council, said: “There’s lots of great work going on in Plymouth to tackle the issue of sexual violence with partners from a range of agencies working closely together and just this week we have seen the official opening of the new Sexual Assault Referral Centre (SARC) by NHS England.

“This conference is an opportunity to hear some excellent local and national speakers and for partners to network, share new ideas and learn from best practice.”

Councillor Sally Haydon, Cabinet Member for Safer and Stronger Communities for Plymouth, said: “Sexual Violence Week is an opportunity to raise awareness of this important issue and the national theme is It’s Not Ok – and it’s important that we get that message across. We are pleased to welcome speakers from across the UK to this event and in particular Winnie M Li, a survivor of sexual violence, who continues to inspire others by sharing her inspiring story about how she has survived and overcome this dark chapter in her life.”

There were a series of presentations in the morning afternoon workshops. The event was opened by Carole Burgoyne, Strategic Director for People for Plymouth City Council, and Councillor Sally Haydon, Cabinet Member for Safer and Stronger Communities.

Question and answer session at Plymouth’s first Sexual Violence Conference.

In addition to Winnie M Li, other speakers at the conference included Detective Supt Steve Brownlow, Devon and Cornwall Police sexual offences lead, Jessica Eaton, the founder and owner of VictimFocus, the VictimFocus Blog and The Eaton Foundation, Dr Nate Eisenstadt, Senior Research Associate at the Centre for Gender and Violence Research at University of Bristol, Charlie Brooker Centre for Sociology and Criminology Royal Holloway, University of London, and Dr Louise Newby Paediatric clinical lead for the Paediatric Forensic Centre of Excellence Exeter SARC.

Sexual Assault Referral Centre

Another milestone during Sexual Violence Week was the opening of Plymouth’s new Sexual Assault Referral Centre (SARC) on Tuesday 5 February.

Lyndsay Howell, Devon & Cornwall SARC manager, commented: “Devon and Cornwall SARCs are places where you can come and talk in total confidence about what has happened and receive care and support from understanding professionals. Our services are available for women, men and children.

“If you, or someone close to you, has been sexually assaulted, please contact us on our 24-hour helpline on 0300 3034626. You can also access support from the SARC website at www.sarchelp.co.uk

Official opening of Plymouth’s new Sexual Assault Referral Centre (SARC).