A RECENTLY launched website to help victims of rape and sexual assault is proving successful, receiving over 4000 visitors since its launch two weeks ago.

Avon and Somerset’s new Police and Crime Commissioner Sue Mountstevens launched the site on Thursday, December 20 in a bid to encourage more victims to come forward and report sexual crimes, which remain seriously under-reported.

The force says just 8 per cent of victims of such crimes report them.

Rapeaware.org explains the different types of rapes and sexual assault, provides contact numbers for support and guides users through the investigation process.

Avon and Somerset assistant chief constable Rod Hansen said the number of visitors to the site was promising.

"Rape and sexual assault is never the victims fault and it is important that we make both men and women aware that there is help available across Avon and Somerset even if they do not wish to involve us," he explained.

"We would always encourage people to report this crime but if they feel that they are not ready they can still speak to professionals, and get the help and support they need to try and deal with this horrendous crime."

PCC Sue Mountstevens, who is prioritising reducing violence against women, said she was thrilled that so many people had already visited the website.

She said: "We need to raise awareness and educate people of the myths and facts surrounding rape.

"We are doing as much as possible to empower people to avoid, challenge and report sexually violent behaviour and to make them aware of the number of great organisations out there to help such as Rape Crisis and The Bridge who are all ready to offer independent, specialist support."