Victims' charity Nexus NI sees surge in wake of Weinstein scandal
A charity that provides support to victims of sexual violence has seen a surge in people seeking help in the wake of the Harvey Weinstein scandal.
Nexus NI reported a 21% spike in referrals for their specialist counselling service in the last three months.
It said the global media storm over the Weinstein case was one factor.
Hollywood has been rocked by allegations against the film mogul. A large number of women have come forward to say they were sexually harassed or assaulted by Weinstein - allegations he has denied.
Nexus said it has seen more referrals than ever before and is encouraging other victims to come forward to seek help.
Since October 2016, the charity has delivered more than 17,000 counselling sessions across 41 locations - up 2,000 on the previous year.
Cara Cash, the chief executive of Nexus NI, said: "We're seeing more and more stories in the press every day, and the #MeToo hashtag on social media has also sparked conversation around sexual assault both in Northern Ireland and across the globe.
"We see the increase in referrals as a positive step forward as it means that victims of any form of sexual violence are starting to feel that they can seek help.
"Sexual assault can have a lifelong impact on a victim and we want to remind them that it is never their fault. They should know they have nothing to be ashamed of and there is strength and hope in seeking help.
"We work hard to make Nexus a safe and trusted source of support for everyone."
She added: "We are here to support victims of sexual assault no matter who they are, who the perpetrator is or when the assault took place.
"If you or someone you know has been a victim of sexual violence, please reach out and get help. No one has to suffer alone."