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Police officers across Cheshire are to be specially trained on how to support victims of sexual violence.

Every frontline officer will soon receive training amid complaints from some victims of “inappropriate” and “insensitive” responses.

A new training package has been developed by police and crime commissioner, David Keane, following feedback from victims which identified a knowledge gap in some frontline workers, including police officers, responding to these crimes.

The consultation, funded by NHS England, asked survivors of rape and sexual violence and also support services for their views on aftercare provided by the police and other agencies.

Some survivors said they had experienced an ‘insensitive’ or ‘inappropriate’ response from first-response officers who are not specially trained to handle these types of cases.

PCC David Keane has developed a scenario-led video training package which he is looking to roll-out to all new officers joining Cheshire Constabulary and existing officers receiving refresher training.

He said: “We know that incidents of rape and sexual violence are massively under-reported with only 17% of survivors reporting the crimes to the police and two thirds not telling anyone at all.

“It takes a lot of confidence for survivors to come forward and relive the ordeal so it’s important that they feel supported by police and other frontline agencies.

“These videos will use real-life scenarios to educate officers on the incidents they might face and help them identify how to respond appropriately and sensitively.

“I hope that this training aid will improve officers’ initial response and by building confidence and trust in the police service will encourage more survivors to report to the police.”

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