4 December 2016
Victims of sexual assault and abuse in Devon and Cornwall, including children and young people will be helped by extra funding from NHS England.
The team of the Police and Crime Commissioner, Alison Hernandez worked closely with NHS England to secure more than £150,000. This additional funding will enhance the services already provided by sexual assault referral centres (SARCs) in the two counties.
The funding focuses on two developments;
Firstly, it will increase the SARCs’ capacity to offer psychological and medical support to victims of sexual assault over the weekend. Currently, at weekends, this service is only available to people who report an assault to the police.
The biggest part of the funding will pay for three new children and young people’s Independent Sexual Violence Advisors. Two will cover East and West Cornwall for the Pool based victim support organisation Skoodhya. The other will join the SARC in Plymouth, run by Twelves Company, a Devon and Cornwall sexual violence and domestic abuse support charity.
Sally Piper, Chief Executive, Skoodhya said: “We are delighted with the additional funding from NHS England and grateful for the support from the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner. This will allow us to provide a dedicated specialist service for children and young people affected by sexual violence, as this is something we have wanted to do for a long time.”
“I am absolutely thrilled that funding has been secured to ensure victims of sexual assault are appropriately supported across the Peninsula, including at weekends.” said Tom Dingwall, Chief Executive, Twelves Company.
“However, I’m especially pleased that child victims of sexual exploitation and assault will now get the practical and emotional support they need from ‘report to court’.
“Working in partnership with Barnardo’s in Plymouth, we’re delighted that children from Plymouth will no longer need to travel to the Truro or Exeter paediatric SARCs for their follow-on support.
“The funding also sends an important message about child assault and exploitation across the Peninsula. Staff are there to believe, support and help a child at a very difficult and emotional time, through the legal system following sexual exploitation or assault.
“This is a vital step in terms of providing timely support and care to victims, developing a child’s faith in support services and that the child – and their voice – remains at the centre of any response. It is also an important element of helping to bring perpetrators to justice.”
Vanessa Fowler, NHS England said: “There are excellent sexual assault services in these areas, delivered by local organisations. NHS England is pleased to be able to support this work with additional funding to meet the needs of victims and their families.”
Jo Robison, Criminal Justice, Partnership and Commissioning Manager, Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner said: “The Commissioning Managers for the OPCC and NHS England welcome the news that the three Sexual Assault Referral Centres across Devon and Cornwall are to receive additional funding from NHS England to allow further development of the critical services our SARCs offer to victims of sexual assault.”