THE Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner (OPCC) has secured almost £50,000 to combat sexual violence in Cleveland.
NHS England has awarded the OPCC a total of £49,900.
The cash will support the delivery of national NHS priorities around sexual assault and abuse services. Priorities include promoting the safeguarding and the safety, protection and welfare of victims and survivors
Funding will be used by the OPCC and charities A Way Out and ARCH Teesside.
It will fund research into understanding sexual violence across Cleveland and pre-trial therapy training and awareness for charity workers, delivered by ARCH Teesside. It will also help to support A Way Out’s Blossom Project.
Analysis shows Cleveland has the third highest rate of serious rape and sexual assault per 100,000 population across England and Wales
Serious sexual violence is a problem in Cleveland for both victims and the criminal justice system.
A partnership research project will focus on providing real-time data analysis and information-sharing with the aim of targeting resources better and testing the impact on victims’ experiences.
This in turn will inform service improvements with the intention of improving support for victim and survivors in future.
Training organised by ARCH Teesside for professionals will allow victims of rape or sexual abuse to receive therapy and support prior to cases going to trial.
It will support practitioners to work ethically and safely with clients during investigation and/or when the case has been passed to the Crown Prosecution Service. This will allow victims to receive professional support without it impacting on the trial itself
The Blossom Project supports at-risk young women and girls, aged 13 to 25, who have a range of vulnerabilities. It also supports survivors of sexual assault and abuse.
The project supports service users, helps to empower them and assists them to realise their full potential.
It also forms part of the charity’s prevention work and helps to strengthen planning to protect the welfare of survivors.
The project combines regular one-to-one support, group work and activities.
Tackling violence – a “priority”
Steve Turner, Police and Crime Commissioner for Cleveland, said: “Tackling violence – in all its forms – is one of my top priorities
“It is totally unacceptable that an estimated 5,101 of women in Cleveland experienced sexual assault and attempted sexual assault last year
“This funding will help us better understand the breadth of sexual violence in Cleveland so we can target resources better in future. Funding will also provide vital support to survivors of sexual assault and abuse.”
Sarah McManus, Chief Executive Officer of a Way out, said: “We are really pleased to be awarded this funding to help support the survivors and those at risk of sexual assault and sexual abuse in the region.
“This will really make a difference in the region. It will help to promote responsive and personal services, which are needs-led and positively impact on the physical and mental health, confidence, well being and safety of survivors of sexual assault and abuse as well as helping to prevent incidents from happening to others.”
Nicky Harkin, Chief Executive Officer of ARCH Teesside, said: “We know from speaking to frontline staff that there can often be confusion about what is and isn’t allowed once an investigation is on-going. This can result in hesitancy to offer therapeutic support for fear of the case collapsing.
“The reality is that therapeutic support can be offered within the boundaries of the protocol. Through increasing the understanding of this to professionals, we hope to ensure that more people will get access to the support that they need when they need it.”
Julie Dhuny, Head of Health and Justice for NHS England and NHS Improvement in the North, said: “We are pleased to award the Cleveland Police and Crime Commissioner with additional funding.
“This initiative, together with existing Sexual Assault Referral Centre Services, will further help us to improve care and support for victims and survivors within the North East.”
The grant for 2021-22 will be shared as follows:
- Understanding Sexual Violence across Cleveland Research Project – £12,609
- A Way Out for the Blossom Project – £28,081
- ARCH Teesside for pre-trial therapy training – £8,720
The award comes despite NHS England receiving a record number of business cases for funding this year from across Cumbria and the north east.
The Strategic Direction for Sexual Assault and Abuse Services Lifelong Care for Victims and Survivors: 2018 – 2023 outlines how services for victims and survivors of sexual assault and abuse, in all settings of the health and care system, need to evolve between now and 2023.
It sets out the following six core priorities that NHS England will focus on to reduce inequalities experienced and improve sexual assault and abuse services:
- Strengthening prevention
- Promoting safeguarding and the safety, protection and welfare of victims and survivors
- Involving victims and survivors in the development and improvement of services
- Introducing consistent quality standards Driving collaboration and reducing the fragmentation of service
- Ensuring the workforce is appropriately trained.