A CHARITY fears that victims of sexual assault may be ‘too frightened’ to come forward due to coronavirus restrictions.

The Rape and Sexual Abuse Support Centre Cheshire and Merseyside has warned that anyone who has been assaulted during an illegal gathering may be wary of reporting offences due to the potential repercussions of them having broken Covid-19 lockdown measures.

Cheshire Police have urged anyone who has been subjected to sexual offences to report their abuser, no matter what the circumstances.

Julie Evans, director of operations at the RASASC Cheshire and Merseyside, said: “It is really important that any victim of sexual assault comes forward and receives support – we will not judge you.

“You should not be afraid of coming forward to report an assault, even if lockdown restrictions have been broken.

“We take sexual violence very seriously – we listen, we believe and we support.”

The force says that victims will ‘take priority’ when they report sexual assaults and rapes.

Superintendent Julie Westgate said: “Victims should not fear coming forward.

“First and foremost, their position as a victim takes priority and our officers would be dealing with them as victims of crime above anything else.

“We recognise that anyone in such situations may be worried about reporting sexual assault, but it is a serious crime that should be reported – we need to ensure victims get the help and support they need as soon as possible and that perpetrators are brought to justice.”

Cheshire police and crime commissioner David Keane added: “I would encourage all survivors of sexual violence to report attacks to the police, no matter where the attack took place.

“It’s also important that survivors have the confidence that their report will be acted upon.

“I would like to reassure them that their report will be taken seriously by Cheshire police and that they will be given the appropriate support by the victims’ services I commission, such as RASASC, to cope and recover from their ordeal.”