chapter
9 Pages

Introduction

ByJennifer Brown, Sandra Walklate

The key foci of interventions in sexual violence are perpetrators and their victims. On the one hand sexual offending is somehow considered ‘different’ (Thomas 2005). Society still continues to demonise the offender, the media represent them as monsters and the sex offender is often the subject of bullying and harassment once incarcerated. Thomas further observes that professionals find offenders difficult to work with, and communities find it hard to permit released offenders to reintegrate. On the other hand, as Kelly (2008: 256) notes, sexual violence is distinctive because it ‘violates personal intimate and psychological boundaries’ of its victims. She charts the ‘heady combination of activist protest, passionate polemic and more considered research and commentary [which] led Governments to embark on reforms of statutory and procedural responses to rape and sexual assault’ (p. 253). The four chapters and practitioner commentary that make up this final section of the Handbook look at various aspects of responding to sexual violence. Helge Hoel and Duncan Lewis look at the work context especially from the perspective of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transsexual (LGBT) employees. Kate Cook lays out the different emphases adopted by public sector and voluntary organisational responders. Hazel Kemshall and Rebecca Campbell’s chapters take a health perspective on sexual violence. Sheila Coates, director of the South Essex Rape and Incest Crisis Centre, presents views of women who are themselves casualties of the fallout of sexual violence, some victims, some mothers of victims.