Every year, Sexual Abuse and Sexual Violence Awareness Week aims to break the silence that often surrounds these topics, bring an end to the stigma of discussing them, and improve awareness of where help and support is available for those who need it.
"Sexual abuse and sexual violence are far too commonplace in our society and must be rooted out,” said Connie.
"It can happen to anyone and it is never the victim’s fault. The blame for these crimes lies solely with the perpetrators.
"We stand resolutely with the victims of sexual abuse and violence, who are often even further victimised by a culture of not only silence, but also shame and blame, compounding the horrific experiences that they have been subjected to.
"We must do all we can to end the silence around sexual crimes, and break down this culture of shame that can prevent victims from coming forward and seeking support.
"If you or someone you know is in need of help, we would urge you to reach out.
"Women's Aid provide support services throughout NI. You can find your local group through their website (https://www.womensaidni.org/). You can also call the Nexus NI Domestic & Sexual Abuse Helpline on 0808 802 1414.
"In an emergency situation however, always dial the police emergency number ‘999’."