Police Commissioner marks #itsnotok2018 by reminding victims about available support
February 5th, 2018
TO MARK Sexual Violence Awareness Week, (5th–11th February), Police and Crime Commissioner, Jason Ablewhite is today (Monday 5th February) reminding people about the range of support services available to survivors of sexual violence in Cambridgeshire.
With events happening nationally to mark #itsnotok2018, the Commissioner wants survivors to know that help is at hand.
Today, a Peterborough resident and a victim of crime herself is adding her voice to help others recover. Faith Smith, aged 44, was sexually assaulted by someone she trusted in 2015 after attending a work meeting away from home and outside of Cambridgeshire. The attack left her emotionally scarred and suffering from flash backs. Her only option at the time was to report the incident, in person, at the local police station. Although the police did everything they could to gather evidence and (ultimately) take the case to court, Faith found that she was left to manage the whole situation largely on her own. She says:
“When I was assaulted, I felt isolated and alone and didn’t know such support existed in the county I lived in at the time. I couldn’t sleep and felt terrified. When I heard about the Elms, a facility for victims of rape and sex crimes in Cambridgeshire, I immediately contacted the Manager, Rachel Matheson to ask if I could visit to see how support is being delivered.”
The Elms (a county-wide Sexual Assault Referral Centre), which opened in its current location in 2016, offers survivors a safe place to receive support, medical aftercare, forensic examinations, and to anonymously report assaults. Faith said:
“To know that there is a place where I could have gone to feel safe and advised about my options would have made a significant difference to my recovery. Nearly three years on from my assault, I still suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder and am unable to work. However I am starting to find my voice and want to use my experience to help others recover more positively, offering my support to staff at The Elms in the hope that I can help make a difference.”
Confidential support is also available for survivors of sexual violence and/or sexual abuse at any time in their lives from Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Rape Crisis Partnership (CAPRCP). CAPRCP offer free counselling, face-to-face emotional support, pre-trial therapy, a telephone helpline, email support services and group work. They also have an Independent Sexual Violence Advocacy (ISVA) service for adults and children needing practical and emotional help. All CAPRCP services can be found on www.caprcp.org.uk.
And for young people aged between 13 and 19 (or 24 with additional needs) who have been affected by sexual violence, therapeutic support is available from a new counselling service. The ‘Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Prevention and Intervention Project’, ‘Time4U’ offers emotional help through talking therapies. Delivered locally by national charity Embrace – Child Victims of Crime (CVOC), the project also helps young people who use violence and abuse as a result of being themselves traumatised or victims of other types of abuse.
Police and Crime Commissioner, Jason Ablewhite said
“Anyone experiencing sexual violence, whether they report the crime to the police or not, needs to know there are people they can turn to for help. The Victim and Witness Hub offers free, confidential support to victims and witnesses of crime, including face to face support and access to any relevant external services. The service ensures that victims have access to end-to-end support, from immediately after a crime has been committed, to any ensuing court proceedings.”
“I am grateful to Faith for agreeing to help raise awareness of the whole range of support services available to people who find themselves survivors of sexual violence. They deserve a blanket of love and care and I am pleased we have been able to put in additional resources to make this a reality. By providing a local, joined-up response, we can make sure the right support is provided at the right time, as well as intervening early to prevent these crimes from happening in the first place.”
- The Victim and Witness Hub details can be found here: https://www.cambs.police.uk/information-and-services/Victims-and-Witnesses/Victim-and-Witness-Hub. Details about the Elms can be found here: http://www.theelmssarc.org/
- For details of how to contact Rape Crisis Partnership Cambridge and Peterborough visit: https://www.caprcp.org.uk/
- For details about the Embrace project, contact Embrace on 07889 623639 or by email: firstname.lastname@example.org or visit the website: www.embracecvoc.org.uk.
- Details of local services are available on The Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Domestic Abuse and Sexual Violence Partnership website: www.cambsdasv.org.uk