VICTIMS, friends or family of people who have suffered sexual abuse are being encouraged to come forward.

Cumbria County Council said the problem is often swept under the carpet because victims feel ashamed but wants to change this.

Last year, nearly 90 cases were reported to the council's Cumbria Adults Safeguarding Board (CASB).

They say they know there is likely to be more.

To target unreported cases, the CASB want to encourage victims and their friends or family to be aware of the signs of abuse and know how to report it.

Of the 84 reported cases last year, 46 were investigated by Cumbria County Council's adult social care team.


The authority says sexual abuse is the involvement in any sexual activity that a person has not consented to, could not consent or was pressured into consenting, and includes inappropriate touching, sexual assault and rape.

Hard-hitting posters and information leaflets are on display in doctors' surgeries and other public buildings around the county to encourage people to report their concerns.

Abigail Finnegan, from Safety Net Advice and Support Centre in Carlisle, said: "Sexual abuse is a disturbing and worrying subject, and it's often the silence and reluctance to think about it that allows it to thrive in secrecy.

"People often lack confidence in approaching this difficult but important issue. It's right to report abuse – without it being reported and investigated it will continue.

"It's vital that people who are sexually abused know that there are avenues open to them that can and will help them. Nobody should have to suffer in silence."

In the first instance you can contact your local adult social care office:

South Lakeland 01539 713378

Furness 01229 407446

Eden 01768 812243

Allerdale 01900 706301

Copeland 01946 506352

Carlisle 01228 221590

In an emergency out of hours people can contact the county council's adult social care duty team on 01228 526690, or call 999 for the police.

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