The British Embassy Bangkok is hosting a two-day workshop on Rape and Sexual Assault Survivor Handling to its Thai partner organisations in Bangkok and Chiang Mai this week. The training aims to develop the skills required by agencies to improve the handling of rape & sexual assault survivors.
In the past 3 years there has been at least 40 cases of sexual assault to British Nationals in Thailand. This contributes to 4.2% of the global reported cases (962) of British Nationals being raped or sexual assaulted abroad. The actual number of cases could be higher, given the number of survivors who do not inform either the Police or the British Embassy about their attacks. When the victims do report their cases, we want to ensure they are treated in a professional manner.
The Rape and Sexual Assault Survivor Handling Conference seeks to build upon ongoing work in Chiang Mai by the British Embassy Consular team in collaboration with the US Consulate General, the Tourist Assistance Centre (TAC), police and hospital One Stop Crisis Centre (OSCC) to develop a victim centred approach to assist survivors of rape and sexual assault.
The training is delivered by the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) partner Glasgow & Clyde Rape Crisis Centre and will have a direct impact behaviourally in terms of the interaction between TAC and police officers and the Rape and Sexual Assault survivors. The specialist training will improve their ability to interact with the survivor in ways that will reduce the impact of trauma. This will directly benefit the survivor’s ability to deal with the process and later come to terms with the event.
Other highlights include the speeches by guest speakers Cindy Bishop, model and actress, and Emma Thomas, survivor and blogger, who are working to end sexual assaults in Thailand.
The workshop runs in Bangkok from 7 to 8 October 2019, and in Chiang Mai from 10 to 11 October 2019. It is attended by representatives from the Thai Ministry of Tourism and Sports, Tourist Assistance Centre, Police Officers, Thai Social Services, Police General Hospital, Thai Social Work Council, Assumption University, Chiang Mai University, Chiang Mai Provincial Hospital, Office of Prosecutor, NGOs, and Embassy partners in the Northern provinces of Thailand.
Brian Davidson, British Ambassador to Thailand, said:
Over 1 million British tourists travel to Thailand each year and over sixty thousand live as expatriates on a long term basis. The British Embassy Consular team in Bangkok respond to over 1500 consular cases every year, including, on average, of 15 reported rape and sexual assault. We have worked closely with Tourist Assistance Centre (TAC), the Police and One Stop Crisis Centre (OSCC) in Chiang Mai to see TAC officers trained as first responders to respond to the needs of the victims needs in the initial stages. The Rape and Sexual Offences Conference seeks to build on this collaboration and extend it nationally: sharing knowledge and understanding to enhance those skills
Sean O’Neill, Consul General at the U.S. Consulate General in Chiang Mai, said:
I would like to thank the Royal Thai Government for their work on this important issue and the British Embassy for organizing this conference. Protecting U.S. citizens, and particularly victims of serious crimes like sexual assault, is our top priority. I am grateful that we have excellent cooperation with the Royal Thai Government and our counterparts at the British Embassy on this issue.
Anan Wongbenjarat, Deputy Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Tourism and Sports, said:
The Thai government has the policy to manage the quality and impose standards on tourist destinations in order to attract more quality tourists while helping distribute the tourism income to the local communities. We place importance on tourist safety in areas including crimes and accidents. Our Tourist Assistance Centre (TAC) works with local and international organisations to ensure tourists, especially foreigners, get necessary assistance when needed.
Around 1 million British tourists travel to Thailand each year and over sixty thousand live as expatriates on a long term basis. The Consular team in Bangkok respond to over 1500 consular case per year. Between June 2016 and June 2019 the Consular Section Bangkok assisted 40 survivors of rape and sexual assault. This is 4.2% of global cases (962) for the same period. Consideration should also be given to the number of survivors of rape who do not inform either the Police or the British Embassy about their attacks. The Crime Survey for England and Wales (CSEW) which records the propensity of survivors to report such crimes showed that around 83% did not report their experiences to the police.
Cindy Sirinya Bishop, is a host, model and actress, and creator of the #Don’tTellMeHowToDress Campaign to challenge the notion that women’s appearance and behaviours are to blame when they are sexually assaulted. She teamed up with UN Women and other partners for the campaign to break the cycle of victim-blaming and dispel the myths and stereotypes by spotlighting the outfits worn by women who were sexually assaulted.
Emma Thomas is a British expat living in Bangkok who has a passion for Muay Thai (Thai boxing). As a survivor of an attempted rape, Emma works to end sexual assault through her award-winning blog Under the Ropes. She is now a speaker for UN Women on the HeForShe campaign for gender equality and a committee member of the Bangkok Rising, a volunteer-based community organization of activists for gender issues.