A WEEK of action has been launched to call for an end to sexual violence, as campaigners work to ‘stop the stigma’.

Sexual Abuse and Sexual Violence Awareness Week, running from February 5, encourages steps to be taken to prevent further crimes.

Social action photographer, Jayne Jackson, said the week of awareness is vital for supporting victims and promoting change.

“There is a famous quote that 'every woman you know has a story'.

“It's wider than that even, it impacts every person within society, directly or through someone they know.”

Jayne was one of the organisers for the gender-based violence protest, Fox Strut, and also runs an exhibition of her ‘Asking for It’ series.

It aims to tackle victim blaming of sexual crimes by removing societal stigma.

“In November, during an exhibition of my Asking for It series, a man in his 70s was chatting to me about the photographs and after a few minutes, he told me a story about something that happened to him.

“He had carried the guilt for almost 60 years.

“Every single time I exhibit Asking for It, disclosures happen.

“Each time I am moved and I can see the weight lift from people's shoulders as they accept the blame is not theirs to carry.”

She added: “We have to keep making it OK for people to tell their story.

“Breaking stigma removes the burden of guilt and has an enormous transformative impact for people that may never find justice through our legal system.”

During the week, Dorset Police are emphasising to survivors that reports will be treated seriously, sensitively and with respect.

Superintendent Emma Sweetzer of Dorset Police said: “Sexual offence investigations require the bravery of survivors to see them through, but the tenacity and professionalism of our investigators and support from our staff and partner organisations will get them through the criminal justice process.”

Dorset Police are also encouraging those who have gone through the criminal process to report their feedback through an anonymous survey.

BCP Council will be holding a week of events to raise awareness, tackle the issue and highlight the support available.

People suffering abuse, or know someone who is, can contact BCP Council’s Adult Social Care Contact Centre on 01202 123 654.

STARS (Sexual Trauma and Recovery Service) offer free one to one support in Dorset and can be contacted on 01202 308855.

Alternatively, Acts Fast support families of those affected, 01202 797217.

However, if there is an immediate danger to life, call 999 and request police.