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First Light awarded ISVA contract for Swindon and Wiltshire

First Light is pleased to announce it has been successful in the bid to provide the Independent Sexual Violence Advisory (ISVA) service for Swindon and Wiltshire.

Following a competitive tender process, First Light was awarded a five-year contract from the office of the Wiltshire Police and Crime Commissioner, which will commence on 1 April 2023.

The ISVA service provides support for anyone who has experienced rape or sexual abuse recently, or in the past. Support is available whether someone has already reported an incident to the Police, or if they are looking for advice and support on the options available to them.

Lyn Gooding, Chief Executive of First Light, said: “We are delighted First Light was selected as the ISVA service provider in Swindon and Wiltshire. As we already run the Swindon and Wiltshire Sexual Assault Referral Centre (SARC), this latest contract will help to provide a smooth transition for our clients as they move from one service to another.”

First Light accepts referrals from professionals or people who wish to self-refer into the service. You can do this here or for more information contact the referral advice line on 0300 373 2715.

Survivors of sexual violence asked to have their say on police experience

Operation Bluestone Soteria is an anonymous survey that has been commissioned to understand how the police process feels to victim-survivors of sexual violence. If you are aged 18+ and reported the crime to the police, you are being asked to have your say.

The findings from this survey, which has been created by an independent body with input from victims, independent sexual violence advisors (ISVAs) and academics and professionals, will help to improve the police response nationally to rape and other sexual offences.

It doesn’t matter when the incident happened, whether it has been resolved or if the process is still ongoing, just that is has been reported to the police.

The survey is completely anonymous so you cannot be identified.

You can complete this survey online in your own time, at your own pace, and at a place that feels safe and comfortable to you. It should take no more than 15 minutes to complete.

This is an academic survey conducted by City, University of London, and not a police survey. Please do not report any crimes in the survey as your response will be anonymous.

You can complete the survey here.

Support First Light through easyfundraising

First Light is now registered with easyfundraising, which means that you can raise free donations for the charity every time you shop online.

Over 7,000 brands will donate to us when you use easyfundraising to shop with them – and at no extra cost to yourself.

All you need to do is sign up and remember to use easyfundraising whenever you shop online. It’s easy and completely free.

Anna Mitchell, Corporate & Community Fundraiser at First Light, said: “These donations really mount up and make a big difference to the charity. It’s free, simple to set up and you can shop online as usual, while knowing that you are also supporting people who have experienced domestic abuse or sexual violence. Please sign up and support First Light.”

You can find the First Light easyfundraising page here.

First Light response to police inspectorate report

His Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire & Rescue Services has today (Thursday 2 February) published the findings of their inspection of Devon and Cornwall Police. Some of the areas where improvements were identified as being required relate to domestic abuse and sexual violence crimes.

In response to the report, a spokesperson for First Light said:

“It is clear from the findings of today’s report that the police response to some victims of domestic abuse and sexual violence is insufficient. This is concerning as it affects many of the people we support.

First Light welcomes the recommendations in the report and hopes that the findings of this inspection will contribute towards the improvement in how the police respond to these types of crime. As an independent organisation, part of our role is to hold the police force accountable for this, which we will continue to do.

As a provider of specialist domestic abuse and sexual violence services, First Light had already recognised the need for an improved police response to victims and as a result are working with the force to help them achieve this.

First Light provides support to adults and children to lead safer lives free from violence and abuse. We will continue to advocate for an improved response to victims and work collaboratively towards a place where we live in safety, free from domestic abuse and sexual violence.”