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Supporting survivors of sexual violence and child sexual abuse

Sexual violence and rape can have a significant and long-lasting impact on those who experience it. Being able to access the right support at a time which is right for a victim can be important to help them cope with their experience.

Police and Crime Commissioners took on the responsibility for commissioning support services for victims of crime in 2014.

Countywide support service for survivors of sexual violence and child sexual abuse

In Cambridgeshire a pooled budget arrangement with Cambridgeshire County Council, Peterborough City Council and NHS England funds a countywide support service. Cambridgeshire is also one of five areas selected to take part in a three-year sexual violence local commissioning test with the Home Office. This means the county’s allocation from the national Rape Support Fund is devolved to the Police and Crime Commissioner until March 2022. This is not new money but allows the funds to be used to respond to local commissioning needs.

The contract for a ‘Countywide support service for survivors of sexual violence’ was awarded to Cambridge and Peterborough Rape Crisis Partnership in 2019 following a comprehensive commissioning process which involved survivor and stakeholder engagement. The service began their contract in April 2019. This was awarded on a 2+1+1+1 basis to take into account that the Home Office commissioning test ends in March 2022.

The partnership is made up of two local providers: Cambridge Rape Crisis and Peterborough Rape Crisis Care Group. Collectively they are commissioned to deliver:

  • An adult Independent Sexual Violence Advisers (ISVA) service
  • A child and young person Independent Sexual Violence Advisers (ISVA) service
  • An emotional support service
  • Talking therapies for survivors who have accessed the Sexual Assault Referral Centre (this is solely funded by NHS England)

The Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner was successful in securing additional funds in April 2020 to fund three additional ISVAs for two years. This has enabled the service to increase the capacity of both the adult and child and young person service.

Sexual Assault Referral Centre (SARC) The Elms 

Survivors of rape and sexual violence can access medical, practical and emotional support and help 24/7 from specially trained doctors, nurses and support staff at the county’s SARC. The team can arrange for forensic medical examinations to be carried out, whether you decide to report the incident to the police or not, and arrange access to additional medical care.

This service is jointly funded by Cambridgeshire Constabulary and NHS England and provided by Mountain Healthcare. The organisation was awarded the contract in 2019 following a transparent commissioning process supported by the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner. This service works in partnership with the Countywide support service and has a dedicated ISVA co-located to support SARC clients.