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Op Soteria: Six-month survey launched for victims and survivors

A pilot study with South Wales Police and cognitive testing in Avon and Somerset have been undertaken as part of the survey's development over the last 12 months.

Operation Soteria has moved into its next phase with the launch of a six-month survey designed to learn more about how victims of rape and other sexual offences have experienced the police and criminal justice system.

This Op, which began in Avon and Somerset in 2021 as Operation Bluestone, is a nationwide project created with the aim of informing a national operating model for investigating rape and sexual offences.

All 19 forces currently involved have invited leading academics to review their RASSO investigations in order to improve their policies, processes and training around these offences.

Development of the new operating model is expected to finish by June.

As part of this, researchers are now undertaking a survey to gauge the experience of victims and survivors. 

Finalised in December and launched this month, its findings will be used to both inform the national operating model and shape how forces interact with victims and survivors moving forward.

The Op's joint academic lead, Dr Katrin Hohl from City University of London, said: "Listening to survivor voices is central to improving how police interact with survivors of rape and other sexual offences.

"This survey will provide valuable insight into current survivor experiences of the police process, allow holding police forces to account on survivor experience, and to give police forces concrete pointers on what they are already doing well, or needs improving.” 

While the survey is associated with Operation Soteria, victims and survivors from non-participating forces can also take part so that all voices are heard.

Developed over the last 12 months, the survey has been created in consultation with survivors, support organisations, academic experts and police partners.

A pilot study with South Wales Police and cognitive testing in Avon and Somerset also took place during this development period, with those forces to receive bespoke reports outlining the findings from the survey relating to their area.

The academic team will produce a national report detailing the wider findings.

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