A successful advocacy service to guide survivors of sexual abuse and violence through the justice system has been recommissioned for at least another three years.
The Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner for Cleveland has invested almost half a million pounds in an Independent Sexual Violence Advisor (ISVA) service, to support victims across Hartlepool, Middlesbrough, Redcar and Stockton.
The all-age service Arch Teesside have been awarded the contract after delivering the service as a sub-contractor of Teesside Sexual Assault Referral Centre (SARC) for the past three years.
ISVAs are trained to provide emotional and practical support to survivors of rape, sexual abuse and sexual assault who have reported to the police or are considering reporting to the police.
Their main role is to provide support around the criminal justice process, but they are independent from the police and are not legal advisors.
From April to September 2020, Arch received 185 referrals for support, including from 58 people under the age of 18. In total they made over 5,500 separate contacts with survivors during this time period.
The new contract will commence on April 1st 2021.
Acting Police and Crime Commissioner Lisa Oldroyd said: “Following a transparent tendering process, we’re delighted to reappoint Arch to deliver ISVA provision across the Cleveland area.
“These invaluable advocates play a key role in supporting a victim through the challenges of the criminal justice system. Considering the substantial court delays as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, their advice and guidance is needed now more than ever.”
Arch Teesside’s Chief Executive, Nicky Harkin, said: “We are delighted to have been awarded this contract and to continue providing this vital service for victims and survivors.
“The thought of telling someone what has happened or reporting to the police can be overwhelming and so we want to let people know that our team are here for you, whether you choose to report or not. Whatever happens we can help – we believe, we care, and we are with you”Seek help from Arch Teesside's dedicated team – you will be believed, supported and listened to.