Commissioning a county-wide support service for victims of sexual violence
October 19th, 2016
POLICE and Crime Commissioner, Jason Ablewhite, is looking for a provider to deliver a single county-wide specialist support service for victims of sexual violence from next year.
As part of his commitment to ‘deliver a victim first approach’, the Commissioner is leading work to improve the services available to victims of such crimes.
The announcement comes on the back of HMIC’s latest Rape Monitoring Data, issued on 13th October which shows that the number of recorded rapes nationally have more than doubled between the 12 months ending December 2012 to the 12 months ending March 2016.
This is reflected locally in Cambridgeshire. In 2015/16, there were 338 recorded adult rapes (236 in 2014/15) equating to a 43% rise and 145 recorded child rapes (135 in 2014/15) representing an increase of 7%.
Police and Crime Commissioner, Jason Ablewhite said:
“With Operation Yewtree (the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse) and other investigations receiving a great deal of national media attention, this increase is not unexpected. However these crimes have a devastating impact on people’s lives and we need to do all we can to support them to cope and recover.
“The additional service is part of a range of support services for victims across Cambridgeshire. It allows us to ensure all victims of sexual violence, wherever they live, can expect the same level of support.”
Over the last few months, staff from the Commissioner’s team have worked with partner agencies to draw up the detail of the new service which will ensure victims of sexual violence, and their families, receive emotional and practical support. The offer will include dedicated staff – called Independent Sexual Violence Advisors – who will provide one to one support for victims including through any court process, telephone-based support, and peer support through group work.”
The service will be funded from the Commissioner’s Victims’ Services Grant, pooled with existing funding from Cambridgeshire County Council and Peterborough City Council and new funding from NHS England.
The new provider will be working hand in hand with the new Sexual Assault Referral Centre, Constabulary teams and staff in the newly merged Victim and Witness Hub.
The Hub provides ‘end to end’ support for anyone affected by crime from the point of reporting and through any criminal justice process including giving evidence at court.
Jason added: “The Hub is already helping to make people feel more confident about reporting crimes. We need to make sure victims are fully supported so that the perpetrators of these crimes are brought to justice.”