VICTIMS of sexual assault and abuse in West Mercia will now be able to access support services more easily, thanks to funding from the NHS England.
It is estimated that 20 per cent of women and four per cent of men across England and Wales have experienced some form of sexual assault since the age of 16. Victims say they have found the systems for care and support complex and difficult to navigate, making it hard to access the help they need.
Through a successful bid for NHS England funding, led by West Mercia Police and Police & Crime Commissioner John Campion, a new role of Adult Sexual Assault and Abuse Navigator has been created to offer a specialist and personalised support pathway for victims in Worcestershire, Herefordshire and Shropshire.
The Adult Sexual Assault and Abuse Navigator will work as part of the Victim Advice Line; a dedicated support service for people affected by crime in West Mercia. Staffed by an experienced and fully trained Independent Sexual Violence Advisor, the new role will provide a single point of contact for victims and offer a personalised support pathway, allowing them to focus on their recovery rather than trying to navigate a complex support system.
Matt Chester, Head of Victim Services for West Mercia police said: “We’re delighted to have secured this funding which will enable us to provide an even better level of support to survivors of sexual abuse and assault.
“The Victim Advice Line team already work closely with local specialist services such as Axis and West Mercia Rape and Sexual Abuse Support Centre. This new role will allow us to further build on these partnerships and provide seamless support to those who need it most.”
Police and Crime Commissioner John Campion added: “Putting victims and survivors first is a central part of my Safer West Mercia Plan and I’m committed to ensuring that those affected get the support they need.
“Securing this funding is great news for victims of this horrendous crime as much-needed and greater support will be available to them in order to allow them to cope and recover.”
The Victim Advice Line is a free and confidential service offering advice, practical help and emotional support to people affected by crime, regardless of when it happened and whether it has been reported to the police. Support is available by telephone on 0800 952 3000, via email at firstname.lastname@example.org and live chat on www.victimadviceline.org.uk.
To report sexual assault or abuse call the police on 101, or 999 in an emergency.