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Police and Crime Commissioner secures the future of support services for victims of rape and sexual assault

ISVA-Launch

A&S PCC at Safe Link

Services to aid victims of rape and sexual assault across Avon and Somerset have today (Tuesday April 9) received a funding boost from the Police and Crime Commissioner.

Sue Mountstevens unveiled her £88,000 commitment to Safe Link, an organisation which provides Independent Sexual Violence Advisors to victims of rape and sexual assault.

The service offers free, confidential, practical and emotional support, to all victims of this crime in the force area, irrespective of whether the crime happened recently or in the past.

Launched in 2009, the service consists of four specialist advisors who can help in supporting people in the aftermath of this heinous crime. They also help with practical problems and can help the victim if they want to report the assault on them to the police.

They offer support with making a statement, assist with claims for compensation and give support before, during and after the court process.

In 2012 they supported 387 victims, 129 of which were supported through the police process.

Since its launch Safe link has relied on ad-hoc grants and Comic Relief funding which pays for a young person’s ISVA until 2014.

The Commissioner’s commitment will enable the service to support her priority of tackling violence against women and children. This is part of a commitment she made in the Police & Crime Plan.

The funding is the first example of the PCC commissioning services from the £2.4 million community safety grant she inherited on April 1, 2013.

PCC Sue Mountstevens said: “Rape and sexual assault is never the victim’s fault and I want to make it clear that there are people here to help who will understand, take you seriously and believe you.

“The police and other agencies are committed to tackling these awful crimes and there are number of great organisations out there who can help and offer specialist advocacy services and support.

“Tackling violence against women and children is one of my priorities and I’m pleased to be able to fund ISVAs across Avon and Somerset. I want to ensure that all victims of domestic and sexual violence get the help they need when they need it.

Carol Metters (MBE), Director of Safe Link said: “We are delighted to be awarded this funding from the PCC , it means that we will be able to continue offering practical and emotional support to adult and child victims of rape and sexual abuse.  

“We will also be able to support victims who wish to take the perpetrator to court.  

“We know that many victims are afraid to seek help and the funding gives them a strong message that there is a clear commitment from the police and Safe link to give them the support they need”

One survivor of this crime was raped, stabbed and had her home set on fire in South Street, Bedminster in 2010. She was supported by the service and said: “The Independent Sexual Violence Advisors helped me put my life back together after this incident. I am eternally grateful for their help and support. They are an amazing team who are essential in helping people deal with this type of crime.

“You can completely trust the service and they go above and beyond to help you put your life back together. In short they are a superb task force”

If you have been a victim of rape or sexual assault, past or present you can report the incident to the police on 999 if it has just happened, or 101. Alternatively you can contact Safe Link on 0117 925 9680. For more information about this service and the crime you can visit www.rapeaware.org

 

Posted on Tuesday 9th April 2013
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