A SENIOR figure from a rape and sexual assault charity has welcomed the 'decisive action' taken by Worcestershire County Cricket Club after the arrest of Alex Hepburn, and has offered to work with the club to make a difference.

Jocelyn Anderson, chief executive of West Mercia Rape & Sexual Abuse Support Centre, an organisation which provides support to victims of sexual abuse and rape, has said the suspension of Hepburn in November 2017 is to be commended, and welcomed the action taken by the club.

She said: "WCCC state that they are appalled at the details reported in this case and, when you study their published time line of events, they have acted decisively and suspended Hepburn immediately after he was charged with two counts of rape on 9th November 2017.

"This is to be commended, too often, sporting organisations allow their team member to continue playing throughout the investigation as though nothing has happened.

"It is, however, saddening that they have not mentioned anywhere the impact of this upon the victim, nor expressed any regret that this happened to her.

"It is important because cricket is a spectator sport which has legions of followers, old and young - a day at the cricket can be a family event and it is played and promoted within schools and messages from the cricketing authorities can be heard nationally and internationally.

"In the year ending March 2017, the Crime Survey for England and Wales estimated that 20 per cent of women and 4 per cent of men have experienced some type of sexual assault since the age of 16, equivalent to 3.4 million female and 631,000 male victims. Further that, 3.1 per cent of women and 0.8 per cent of men aged 16 to 59 had experienced a sexual assault in the last year.

"Rape is a deeply damaging and personal crime, it can change who you are as a person, emotionally, physically, behaviourally and cognitively.

"There is still time to make a further difference, and we would be happy to work with them to achieve that."

Hepburn, 23, was found guilty of one count of oral rape at Worcester Crown Court on April 12.

Worcestershire County Cricket Club promised to reform its culture and values in light of the Hepburn affair, with chairman Fanos Hira saying he was "Appalled" at the details of the case.