PCC secures over £200k to help victims of sexual violence

14/07/2020

Police & Crime Commissioner Katy Bourne has secured £247,000 from the Ministry of Justice to fund three, full time, complex needs Independent Sexual Violence Advocates (ISVAs) to work across the county over the next two years. 

Survivors' Network, a leading charity supporting survivors of sexual violence and abuse in Sussex has been awarded this contract. They already currently employ five adult ISVAs, two young people's ISVAs and two children’s ISVAs who work across Brighton and East Sussex. 

However, currently clients are having to wait two months or longer to access these ISVA provisions in Sussex and COVID19 has added to this backlog. 

Lockdown has reportedly led to an average 50% increase in time that ISVAs are spending on each case as COVID19 has exacerbated their client’s circumstances. Waiting lists were already in place in Sussex and this has only worsened with over 100 adults still needing support. 

These three new specially trained ISVAs will allow for more capacity in this much needed provision across Sussex, including in the West of the county. They will also help deal with the current backlog of cases and bottleneck of referrals that local services are expecting to see once all lockdown restrictions have been lifted. 

Jay Breslaw, CEO of Survivors’ Network said: “Where people are seeking support after having experienced sexual violence and abuse, we need to offer support in a way that works for those individuals. However, we know that for some people, even reaching out for the support is hard. 

“This additional funding will enable us to support an increased number of clients and crucially to work with individuals to break down some of those barriers and work them in a way that works for them. We know that the recovery journey can be difficult, but it is possible and we are here.”

Sussex Police & Crime Commissioner Katy Bourne said: “Nobody should ever have to suffer this kind of abuse but unfortunately we are seeing more and more people being exploited in this way and they desperately need specialist support. 

“Sexual crimes are devastating, and having someone to provide support and advocacy, liaise with agencies and ensure that the voice of the victim is amplified is so crucial and necessary.

“That is why I am pleased to continue to support this worthwhile service and enable it to expand and accept referrals from across the whole county. I do not want to see any vulnerable victims slipping through the protective net.”

For more information please contact the ISVA team on: 01273 203380, referrals@suvivorsnetwork.org.uk or complete the online referral form https://survivorsnetwork.org.uk/get-help/isva-service/

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